The Algerian baccalaureate examination took place last week, and before we get the results (which will probably deserve a special post) I thought I would call back my imaginary teacher to tell us a little about the Algerian university which will open its doors to those lucky “bacheliers”.
My story started here but the readers might just read this second part as it relates my new life which has little connection with the previous one. I indeed got promoted very quickly to head of the high school and then to inspector before I retired. And as most Algerians, I was still young when I retired and could still contribute to the well-being of the society and at the same time get a second income (some aspects do not change). So a few months after I retired a friend of mine told me about a teaching position at the university. I know I am no doctor but my experience is valuable and Algerians love experimented workers, which is why many positions in public and private companies are given to retired men and women. Plus, many qualified university teachers have left the country in the nineties and basically anyone could teach at the university. So I became a pedagogy teacher.
That was it about me. I decided today to give you my insider’s view on the university through some events I have witnessed. Continue reading →
The situation has calmed down in Algeria and things are going back to normal (read usual). Bouteflika, as always during tough moments when one would expect the president to speak to his people, has kept silent. Some even suggested he was dying (treating a stomach-ache) in a French or Swiss hospital. This was obviously a rumour which disappeared as soon as Bouteflika appeared next to the Canadian foreign affairs minister.
In actual fact, Bouteflika was busy talking on the phone with Zine El Abidine. Tunisia’s also experiencing a social unrest and the situation doesn’t look close to resolution. The two “Pouvoirs” do indeed have a lot in common and could be called good friends.
An old joke in Algeria says that Ezzine was surprised at and even envious of the high scores Chadli Bendjedid got at his presidential “elections” so he asked the Algerian president to help him get similar results in Tunisia. Chadli agreed (I said they were good friends) and sent his first counsellor to Tunis to share his techniques. The Tunisian “elections” took place and guess what? Continue reading →
In their book ‘Political corruption: concepts and contexts‘, Johnston & Heidenheimer attribute the phrase ‘folklore of corruption‘ to the economist and Nobel laureate Gunnar Myrdal. This phrase refers to the set of perceptions, preconceptions and beliefs people in a society have about corruption and what ethical frameworks they refer to to judge the ‘corruptness’ of a given situation or behavior (i.e. whether such or such behavior constitutes an act of corruption). This is an interesting concept for many reasons; the most important and evident of which is perhaps the fact that social preconceptions of corruption are tightly linked with the trust / distrust the public feels towards public institutions, businesses and the government in general. This feeling of trust/ distrust impacts on the public’s willingness to cooperate with anti-corruption measures and is therefore an important factor in the success and sustainability of any corruption fighting policy.
When we consider the Algerian ‘folklore of corruption‘, we will realize that Continue reading →
Is it normal for one company to detain 98% of foreign currency receipts and produce 30% of GDP of the richest and second largest country in Africa? The following video discusses the repercussions of the recent corruption scandal involving the CEO of SONATRACH on the Algerian economy. Analysts are split as to the meaning of this scandal with regards to the political power balance within the Algerian regime: are the millitary sending a warning signal to president Bouteflika or is Bouteflika trying to prove that his government has a zero tolerance policy on corruption even when it involves the country’s economic artery? But if that is the case, where has Chakib Khelil (our energy Minister who is an American national and has an interesting CV) been all this time when the CEO of SONATRACH was mocking about? Who knows and just how many Algerians really do care?! Who should be the judge? The government (it wants to come clean perhaps?), the millitary (they have been caring for Algeria ever since 1962 after all and they are the ones who care most about the country maybe?) or our independent and efficacious judiciary system?
Following the assassination of former DGSN director, Ali Tounsi, Ennahar newspaper published today this article (link to the article in French and in Arabic):
Records destroyed relating to cases that Ali Tounsi had put under investigation over the past decade. Services of Civil Protection managed to save in 2500 files. . the Public Prosecutor ordered the opening of an investigation.
The records service at the security of the wilaya of Algiers has been object to a terrible fire Thursday which destroyed a large part of the legal issues relating to corruption cases which the police court was being investigating these years on the orders of former Director General of National Security, Colonel Ali Tounsi.
Transparency International‘s 2009 index which measures the perceived level of public-sector corruption ranked Algeria at the 111th position. Algeria’s ranking was 92nd in 2008 and 99th in 2007. Another report ranked Algeria at the 92nd position over 180 countries.
This relative position can be discussed but there is no doubt that the level of corruption in Algeria is sky-rocketing and the situation is not improving at all. Cases of corruption are countless and almost everyday brings up a new one. The biggest in the recent weeks was the corruption around the East-West highway project. Many high ranked civil and military officials are involved and the judiciary system is still investigating. We can also mention the cases of Eriad and the different scandals around many public banks. The case of the former APN president is important too and made some noise in Algeria though all Amar Saidani lost was his public appearances but he is still enjoying a free life. 2006 broke the news of the Sonatrach-BRC scandal. And we can go on and on mentioning the biggest known cases of corruption.
Not to forget the other cases of corruption which happen at lower levels, in the wilayas around the walis (many walis are appointed to another wilayas leaving scandals behind them) or at the level of the APCs. The students in universities, the new graduates who take exams to get jobs, hospitals staffs and patients, all of them face corruption in a way or another.
It is indeed a generalised behaviour and many people try to get some illegal benefit out of their positions, and this is not restricted to the public institutions. Continue reading →