Primary and secondary education in Algeria

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

  • lower secondary education (college, التعليم المتوسط), which is concluded with exams for the Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM);
  • upper secondary education (lycée, التعليم الثانوي), which is concluded with exams for the Baccalauréat.

In Algeria, primary education and lower secondary education together form 1 phase of 9 years.

Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM)

Students conclude lower secondary education with exams for the Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM).

  • : 4 years.
  • 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 a Brevet d'Enseignement Moyen (BEM) to 3 years of .

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.


Students conclude upper secondary education with exams 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). In their 2nd and 3rd year, students choose a cluster specialisation. For the arts cluster, students can choose between 2 specialisations:
    • arts and philosophy (lettres et philosophie); or
    • foreign languages (langues étrangères).
      For the science and technology cluster, students choose 1 of the following specialisations:
    • experimental sciences (sciences expérimentales);
    • management and economics (gestion et économie);
    • mathematics (mathématiques);
    • technical mathematics (mathématiques techniques).
  • Admission requirements: a Brevet d’Enseignement Moyen (BEM).
  • Function of the diploma: access to higher education.
  • 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 a 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 diploma. The level of the diploma lies between a HAVO diploma and a VWO diploma.