Primary education

In Algeria, primary education (école primaire, التعليم الابتدائي) lasts 5 years and is intended for children aged 6-11. Most pupils are taught in public schools.

    Secondary education

    Secondary education lasts 7 years. Most students are taught in public schools. Students aged 11 to 18 complete the following 2 stages:

    Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM)

    Lower secondary education is called college ( التعليم المتوسط). In Algeria, primary education and lower secondary education together form 1 phase of 9 years. Students conclude this phase with exams for the Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM).

    • Duration: 4 jaar.
    • Content: general subjects. From the 1st year, students take English classes. At the end of the final year, they take exams.
    • Function of the diploma: access to upper secondary education (Baccalauréat) or vocational education.
    • Diploma: Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM)/ شهادة التعليم المتوسط.

    We compare the Brevet d'Enseignement Moyen (BEM) to 3 years of senior general secondary education (HAVO).

    Please note: until 2003, students obtained the Brevet d'Enseignement Fondamental (BEF) after 9 years of education (6 years of primary education + 3 years of lower secondary education). Some students were still awarded the BEF after 2003, because this diploma was gradually replaced by the BEM.


    After obtaining the Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM), students can continue on to upper secondary education (lycée, التعليم الثانوي). Students conclude upper secondary education with examens for the Baccalauréat.

    • Duration: 3 years.
    • Content: a general range of subjects and subjects for the arts cluster (lettres) or the science and technology cluster (sciences et technologie). See Clusters and specialisations Baccalauréat below.
    • Diploma: Baccalauréat de l’Enseignement Secondaire/شهادة بكالوريا التعليم الثانوي . Please note: the name of the diploma is often abbreviated to Baccalauréat or even Bac.

    We compare the Baccalauréat to at least a HAVO diploma.

    Please note: 'at least a HAVO diploma' means that the diploma has a higher level than a HAVO diploma, but a lower level than a VWO diploma. The level of the diploma lies between a HAVO diploma and a VWO diploma.

    Clusters and specialisations Baccalauréat

    In the 1st year of upper secondary education, students take a general range of subjects (tronc commun). They have to choose:

    • the arts cluster (lettres); or
    • the science and technology cluster (sciences et technologie).

    In their 2nd and 3rd year, students choose a cluster specialisation.


    For the arts cluster, students can choose between 2 specialisations:

    • foreign languages (langues étrangères); or
    • arts and philosophy (lettres et philosophie).

    For the science and technology cluster, students choose 1 of the following specialisations:

    • management and economics (gestion et économie);
    • experimental sciences (sciences expérimentales);
    • mathematics (mathématiques);
    • technical mathematics (mathématiques techniques).

    Admission to higher education

    The Baccalauréat grants access to higher education in Algeria. The Ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique (MESRS) carries out the admission process of students to higher education. The MESRS does this via an online platform. There, students can indicate what and where they prefer to study. The MESRS looks at 4 things when admitting students:

    • the preferred study programme;
    • the diploma and the results achieved;
    • the number of available places at a higher education institution;
    • the district in which the prospective student wishes to be enrolled.