A definition of inclusive education is missing.
However, the Ministry of National Education mentions two approaches (educational remediation and adapted education), with reference to developing inclusive education. These two concepts actually refer more specifically to pupils with certain learning deficits or delayed development. The concept of educational remediation concerns pupils with learning deficits or pupils who demonstrate difficulties that are deemed to be "mild" in one or more learning activities. The concept of adapted education is intended for pupils with a pronounced and overall delay in academic progress.
Special educational needs
The Ministry of National Education understands “pupils with special needs” to mean all learners with a delay in academic progress, learners who are ill and in hospital for a long period of time, and learners with visual or hearing impairments.
Algeria adopts a model of specialized institutions and mainstream schools. Educational methods for children with disabilities vary depending on the nature and degree of their disability, and they are taken care of in specialized institutions or fully or partially integrated into mainstream schools.
Specialized educational institutions for children with disabilities provide specialized education through means and techniques that are adapted to each type of disability. The State is responsible for education, equipment, transport and catering for children with disabilities.
The different types of specialized educational institutions for children with disabilities are defined by the provisions of Executive Decree No. 12-05 of 4 January 2012 on the model statutes of specialized institutions:
Schools for children with hearing impairments receive children and adolescents with partial or total hearing impairments. They provide pupils with psychopedagogical care and specialized teaching using appropriate means and techniques that follows the official national curriculum and ensure that they receive individual attention.
Schools for visually impaired children receive children and adolescents who are unable to attend a mainstream school due to being partially or fully blind. They provide pupils with psychopedagogical care and specialized teaching using appropriate means and techniques that follows the official national curriculum and ensure that they are supported by a multidisciplinary team throughout their education.
Psychopedagogical centres for children with a motor disability receive children and adolescents with motor deficiencies that restrict their autonomy and require specific measures in terms of medical follow-up, specialized education and training, with a view to their educational, social and professional integration.
Psychopedagogical centres for children with learning disabilities develop psychopedagogical programmes to help the children they receive acquire "knowledge and skills" according to their potential and learning ability, by providing them with early education and educational support for knowledge acquisition.
Specialized education for children with disabilities is provided by a network of 240 specialized institutions, 236 of which are functional, strengthened by 15 satellite centres, spread throughout the country and funded by the State budget. In 2019–2020, 24,093 children and adolescents with disabilities were enrolled in specialized institutions and distributed as follows: 18,230 children with learning disabilities, 4,026 children with hearing impairments, 1,269 children with visual impairments and 568 children with a motor disability. In parallel, 70 non-governmental associations educate 8,848 children with disabilities in 112 institutions throughout the country. These institutions are subsidized by local authorities, social security and the services of the ministry responsible for national solidarity.
Schools for children with sensory disabilities (schools for children with hearing impairments and schools for children with visual impairments) follow the national education system’s official curriculum, using means and techniques tailored to each type of disability. The curricula of psychopedagogical centres for children with a motor disability aim to promote their intellectual, psychological and motor skills to work towards their personal autonomy and social integration. The pedagogical guides on education for children with mild learning disabilities in mainstream schools have been updated in line with the new national curricula.
Mainstream schools: special and mainstream classes
The national solidarity sector and the national education sector have established a mechanism to fully or partially integrate children with disabilities into a mainstream school environment, in accordance with the Interministerial Order of 13 March 2014 setting out the arrangements for the introduction of special classes for children with disabilities in public educational institutions within the national education sector. This text introduced a provision on the creation of a specialized provincial commission, made up of representatives of professionals from both sectors. This commission is responsible for directing children with disabilities towards special classes or mainstream classes, and for ensuring their educational monitoring.
Special classes in mainstream schools are overseen by teachers, specialized teachers and competent specialized staff from the specific bodies of the ministry responsible for national solidarity. Official curricula are implemented in special classes using methods and techniques tailored to each type of disability for pupils with hearing and visual impairments. Specialized curricula, introduced by the Ministry of National Solidarity, Family Affairs and the Status of Women, are implemented in special classes for children with mild learning disabilities. Demand for access to specialized schools depends on many factors, including whether there are facilities, the nature of the disability, the child's motivation and his or her personality, etc.
Children with a motor disability are systematically enrolled at mainstream schools (with organizational measures).
Pupils who are struggling or who are behind are placed in adapted classes. They can continue their basic education in special classes and other activities in mainstream classes.
Interministerial decrees (national education and health sectors) set out the arrangements for organizing classes for pupils who are ill and in hospital for a long period of time.
Early childhood institutions are required to accept children with disabilities, with a view to facilitating their gradual and full integration into the social environment, unless their condition requires special care in special units (article 8 of Executive Decree No. 19-253 of 16 September 2019 setting out the conditions for the establishment, organization, operation and supervision of institutions for early childhood).
The State guarantees every citizen the right to education without discrimination on the basis of sex, social background or geographical origin, or any other form of discrimination. Act No. 15-12 of 15 July 2015 on child protection stipulates in its article 3 that "every child shall enjoy, without discrimination on the basis of race, sex, language, opinion, disability or any other form of discrimination, all rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, other applicable international conventions ratified by the State, and those under national legislation, including the rights to life, a name, nationality, family, health protection, equality, education, teaching, culture, leisure and respect for his or her private life”. Algeria acceded to the United Nations Convention against Discrimination in Education in 1969, but has not ratified it.
In 2009, Algeria ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Act No. 02-09 of 8 May 2002 sets forth all rights set out by international standards for persons with disabilities. It aims to provide compulsory education and vocational training to children and adolescents with disabilities. Article 14 of Act No. 08/04 of 23 January 2008 on national education contains particular provisions for children with specific needs. It makes education for children aged 6–16 years compulsory and prolongs this period by two years for children with disabilities. It also sets out that pupils who have been in hospital for a long period of time should be enrolled in classes within hospitals and medical centres, and children with sensory disabilities in integrated classes. Furthermore, Act No. 15-12 of 15 July 2015 on child protection stipulates that children with disabilities "shall enjoy the right to protection, care, education and rehabilitation, promoting his or her autonomy and effective participation in economic, social and cultural life". Finally, the Interministerial Decree of 17 May 2003 sets out the arrangements for organizing assessments and school examinations for pupils with sensory disabilities.
To implement these acts, a Handicap International project aims to carry out local assessments on the barriers to access to education in a mainstream environment for children with disabilities, in order to define an appropriate policy that responds to their needs. It sets out awareness-raising and training actions and develops activities to adapt the school environment. The "Inclusive Education" project (2010–2012) aimed to assess the advisability of continuing these measures and increasing them during a project’s different stages. We have little available data to assess the reach and impact of these programmes.
In 1996, Algeria acceded to the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, but has not ratified the convention. The objective of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Algeria is to achieve gender equality through gender mainstreaming. UNDP Algeria has produced a guide to gender mainstreaming, which presents examples of gender mainstreaming and step-by-step recommendations for effective gender mainstreaming in educational programmes. Other gender-inclusive initiatives include the literacy project for girls and women, focused on promoting 30,000 women’s economic, social and cultural empowerment. The day-boarder system for intermediate and secondary education also supports girls in the majority.
Ethnicity and languages
The Constitution respects the rights of linguistic minorities by teaching Tamazight as a national language. Policies for nomadic pupils have been established: either these pupils are identified and placed in a boarding school by their families, or a nomadic teacher is made available to them, who follows them and teaches the children. There are also travelling classes that follow nomadic groups.
Mobile telecentres provide vocational training in rural and remote areas. They help increase training opportunities and popularize trades for women and young people in rural and isolated areas. The National Bureau for Distance Education and Training provides education to students who have not attended a mainstream school in-person. The Algeria Country Report on Out-of-School Children highlights other measures implemented for pupils in rural and remote areas, including some to provide free school transport. According to this report, data from 2008 show that 0.7 million pupils used the school transport service that has over 3,500 buses assigned to communities. Finally, scholarships are also awarded to day- or full-time boarders, with additional support for disadvantaged pupils. The number of students benefiting from this measure has more than quadrupled in 14 years.
In accordance with Act No. 08-04 of 23 January 2008, the Government ensures that education is free at all levels (including higher education), except for textbooks, which are sold at the cost of production. Books are free for pupils in their first year of primary school. The State also provides support to poor pupils through school allowances (DZD 6 billion annually) (USD 47 million), and assistance with food and accommodation (day board and full-time board) and school health. An annual schooling bonus and a solidarity grant (school kits including schoolbags, overclothes and school supplies) are also granted to children from poor families. Finally, the State provides strong support to its 10,000 or so school canteens. In 2005–2006, 45.86 per cent of children used school canteens. In 2018, 80 per cent of the country's schools had school canteens.
In addition, the Ministry of National Solidarity, Family Affairs and the Status of Women has implemented solidarity programmes comprising three types of support. The first aims to provide school kits to all children from poor families. In 2019, 345,730 children, including 25,621 children with disabilities, received these school kits. The second measure aims to offer subsidized trips. In 2019, more than 21,974 children benefited from this intervention. Finally, the third measure of support aims to provide new clothes to children from poor families, during an intervention organized each year at Eid. In 2019, 24,992 children benefited from this intervention.
Illiteracy, prison population and giftedness
The national literacy strategy intends to mobilize the required material, financial and human resources to support illiterate learners. The National Office for Literacy and Education for Adults (ONAEA in French) works with the prison population. Finally, despite the lack of an official policy on the inclusion of gifted students and reliable data on the matter, the Ministry of Education decided to introduce excellence pathways in three of the country’s colleges to accommodate gifted students, and to open six special colleges in each region. These students receive advanced teaching in foreign languages and information and communications technology.
Notably, the Ministry of National Education is working with the Ministry of National Solidarity, Family Affairs and the Status of Women on a "school integration plan" for children with disabilities in mainstream classes, in order to move from integration to inclusion. Other national stakeholders are also involved, such as the Higher Council of Education; the National Curriculum Commission; the General Inspectorate; the National Office of Exams and Competitions; the Centre for Procurement of Teaching Aids and Equipment; the National Centre for Educational Documentation; the National Institute for Educational Research; and the National Office of School Publications. Associations such as Handicap International and Nour IMC offer children with disabilities a varied educational programme within their specialized centres and prepare children for mainstream schools.
Following the recommendations of the interministerial council of 14 July 2019, a commission bringing together four ministerial departments was established to manage and monitor the education of children with disabilities. An interministerial circular note dated 3 September 2019 was sent to all provincial directors of social action and solidarity, education, health and vocational training in order to ensure that the school year 2019–2020 started smoothly, and to meet all required conditions to accommodate children with specific needs in schools. Another committee, bringing together the Ministry of National Education and the Ministry of National Solidarity, Family Affairs and the Status of Women, has been established as part of the intersectoral dialogue on implementing and monitoring the plan to integrate children with disabilities into a mainstream environment. Finally, a third joint commission (Ministry of National Education; National Office of Exams and Competitions; and Ministry of National Solidarity) has been established to ensure the smooth running of examinations at the end of primary school, middle school and secondary school for pupils with disabilities.
A methodological guide to developing programmes that are in line with the Framework Law of 23 January 2008 proposes guidelines for school textbooks. Collaborative programmes with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the European Union also aim to improve education, new curricula management, teacher training and the development of formative assessment tools. In addition, since the reform in 2002, new dimensions have been incorporated into the curricula, including human rights education and health education. It should be added that the Amazigh language is now included in the school curricula and textbooks. In addition, pupils with visual impairments who are enrolled in mainstream or specialized schools are provided with Braille textbooks. A dictionary of Algerian sign language has also been developed and made available to learners.
Finally, in 2019, loans totalling DZD 258,856,000 (USD 2 million) were granted to implement planned solidarity actions for persons with disabilities, including procuring equipment and technical aids. An intervention to procure technical and educational equipment for children with hearing impairments, with a programme authorization of DZD 387 million (USD 3 million), has also been included under the Finance Act 2020.
As there are no projects to train teachers on integrated or inclusive education for children with disabilities (2014) at the Ministry of National Education, few teachers and staff members have received specific initial training on inclusive education. In this regard, in order to strengthen the skills and performance of specialized management staff, training and development courses are organized annually at the national specialized training centres of the ministry responsible for national solidarity. As part of the P3A twinning project, a group of 14 resource persons attended two training-of-trainers sessions. In 2019, a training plan was developed on the following themes: autism, mild learning disabilities, social support and sign language. The administrative division’s management is responsible for programming and organizing training days for teachers and staff in charge of special classes.
Psychopedagogical care of children with disabilities is provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting mainly of specialized educators, specialized school teachers, social workers and psychologists (speech and language therapists, clinicians and teachers). In 2020, 2,422 budget items were allocated to improving specialized education, of which 1,722 items were earmarked for special classes for children with disabilities in mainstream schools, 300 items for specialized institutions, and 400 items for specialized training (specialized educators, head educators and carers).
Algeria does not have an education monitoring report. In addition, data on inclusion differ depending on their source (Ministry of National Solidarity, Family Affairs and the Status of Women and Ministry of National Education). Furthermore, parents rarely report their children with disabilities and data have not been collected for these children. Thus, it remains difficult to obtain reliable statistics on children with disabilities and to assess their education.
However, the national solidarity sector has a national register of persons with disabilities holding disability cards: 984,491 people held this card during the first half of 2019, of whom 92,553 were female. Moreover, registers for pupils’ enrolment in schools, including those with disabilities, are digitized at the levels of the two sectors and statistical data. The Ministry of National Education collects information on the number of pupils with disabilities who are fully integrated into mainstream classes in the national education system, the number of pupils with disabilities who are partially integrated into special classes in a mainstream environment, and the number of children with disabilities who are educated in specialized institutions.