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2009-05-28

Private lessons in high demand in Algeria as finals draw near

By Said Jameh for Magharebia in Algiers – 28/05/09

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More and more Algerian students seek private lessons after school hours as the end-of-year exams approach. This informal training is not limited to baccalaureate prep; many families pay for tutoring for their children in elementary and middle school as well.

Teachers in various departments offer private or "supporting" lessons, in order to raise students' knowledge and to boost their potential in the exams.

Such lessons are advertised and arranged during regular school hours, and are often given in teachers' homes or rented halls for up to 15 students at a time.

School is free in Algeria, but many parents choose to allocate a separate budget for supplementary training. Some complain of the high prices of lessons, but succumb to pressure from their children.

Exam preparation is the talk of the town in Algeria these days, as elementary school exams concluded Wednesday (May 27th) and will be followed by middle school tests on June 2nd, and the baccalaureate beginning on the 7th.

The Ministry of National Education has also weighed in on the issue of independent study. Public schools, they claim, do their very best to ensure that students achieve outstanding academic results.

Officials complain of the growing phenomenon, particularly at the elementary level, for its potential impact on children's upbringing.

As a result, Minister of Education Boubekeur Benbouzid announced on May 20th that the government would take disciplinary action against teachers who offer private lessons to elementary students.

The Ministry launched its own programme of after-school training in January, where schools offer courses on Monday and Thursday afternoons for a fee.

This initiative is intended to regulate the exam prep sector, to ensure students receive training in accordance with ministry curricula.

Parents do not seem to mind their children spending time in private lessons, as long as they reinforce their knowledge and help them pass the exams.

Djamila, a housewife whose daughter is due to sit for the bac, is confident the lessons will have the desired effect. "I don't care about the money I spend as much as I care about my daughter's success," she told Magharebia.

Yacine, a secondary school history teacher, said he has given private lessons for more than two years, to earn additional income and improve his standard of living.

"The salary I am paid can only cover my needs for 15 days, so I had to offer private lessons to students who need them," he told Magharebia. He sticks to the curriculum, though, as "this is what students get tested in".

Mohamed Guidji, head of the education committee in the People's National Assembly, believes that this adherence to the curriculum is paramount. He told Magharebia that if the objective of private lessons is to enable students to gain more knowledge, they need to stick to the courses taught at public institutions. According to Guidji, the growth of private lessons requires a new law to regulate the practice and avoid corruption.

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  1. Anonymous thumb

    alya 2011-9-15

    I am in my final year and I have enrolled in a select set of courses because, simply put, the majority of teachers do not do their job in class.

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    Anonymous 2010-12-23

    Personally, I am a student in my last year and I am taking special courses in science because the regular teacher is botching the information, teaching as if we already know it. The worst is that the Algerian teachers have adopted the new habit of providing only a little information in class so as to draw more students into their tutoring sessions.

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  3. Anonymous thumb

    kiki 2010-6-17

    What is wrong with you? Because of the strike, I haven't passed the elementary certificate.

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  4. Anonymous thumb

    سالي 2010-3-25

    I would like to ask if there is a baccalaureate exam under the old system in 2011.

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  5. Anonymous thumb

    مفيدة 2009-10-27

    I am a student in the baccalaureate. I am enrolled in private tutoring courses. We don't understand the courses as a result of the huge number of students - 52 students. Therefore, we must resort to support. When the teacher sees an increase in the number of students, he doesn't teach.

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    ali 2009-9-24

    In the name of God, praise be to God. In every class, there are 50 pupils. Class time doesn’t exceed 1.5. so can all students grasp the explanations of the teacher and the lesson? If the monthly wage of the teacher doesn’t exceed 30,000, he rents a house at 10,000... doesn’t he have the right to an extra income? Honestly, we cannot blame anyone for this. Pupils are our sons, teachers are our tutors. All we can say is that there should be a reconsideration of educational structures. We also ask officials to respect the orders of the Lord of Servants in his servants. Servants are the children of God.

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    Anonymous 2009-6-5

    This is good so that they will institute private courses which will help them in the exams. I also take courses at 1025 dinars.

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  8. Anonymous thumb

    جمال الدين من الجزائر 2009-5-30

    You should know Mr the minister of education that long-distant courses have just become a tool so that students get levels and diplomas they don't deserve. This is because they are assisted by teachers to reply to the questions in return for money of course. The oddest thing is that in the exam calls, a specialized teacher was hired to dictate answers to candidates (this happened a few days ago). In that case only those who don't write will not pass. I inform you Mr the minister that I am sixty. I am a retired teacher. My wife is a teacher who gives private courses for high school students. However, courses for long distant students are not prepared and they don't learn. Only exams are prepared for them to answer and send them. Finally, I informed the minister to rest my conscience. Sincerely yours.

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    algeriano 2009-5-28

    I'm not sure if the government problem is for private teachers to pay taxes on income earned instead of this curiculuum mumbo jumbo. The only issue I see possible is for a teacher to push students to take his/her private classes while teaching them in the classroom. It doesn't seem ethical to me for a teacher to do that. I also don't think that what teachers make can meet a decent standard of living. So, who should get the blame for all the problems facing us?

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