Confessions of a former Algerian pupil who’s never cheated

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I am not sure how to introduce this post for it is going to be the first personal one I write on this blog (more may follow if the views number is equivalent to those of my previous posts). I thought of speaking about the Algerian education system and its flaws, the current “basmala” controversy which is but one of the many controversies surrounding the Algerian education department and Nouria Benghabrit, the minister. I also considered commenting this past Baccalaureate scandal with the now traditional cheating episodes and all the useless measures taken by the government to prevent them (including internet nation wide total or partial shut-down). That would be an apt introduction for a post about me not cheating when I was a pupil but that would be a too long introduction. So let’s keep it at this and go right to the main topic 🙂 Continue reading


Classroom Table Art

I hope this blog hasn’t lost all its English readers after my recent entries in French. Here is a post in PoF’s official language and with more pictures than text because the pictures language (does it even exist?) is universal and a picture is worth a thousand words.

Back in high school my Arabic literature teacher liked to speak of social and psychological repression whenever he caught a classmate writing or drawing on her/his table. I liked this teacher a lot, I had him during three years and, whether he spoke seriously or joked, it was always in Arabic Fus’ha. Three years were enough for most of us, including the lazy ones, to become fluent in Arabic Fus’ha. And it’s thanks to him that I have no doubt about setting a new record in this AJ+ challenge. Continue reading

The ChatNoir @GnChNr Compass

MycompassSome Algerian tweeples took the political compass test to find out where they would be on a (left/right, authoritarian/libertarian) plane. I did take that test several years ago and took it again some days ago with fellow tweeples. To my surprise (or not), my position didn’t change much in all these years. No conclusion implied but note how Gandhi is the closest to me.

This is a way for me to introduce a new compass which I named “The ChatNoir Compass”. I hope fellow Algeria blogger ChatNoir won’t mind and won’t sue me for intellectual property. Continue reading

A story of an Algerian teacher II

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

Book review: Memoirs of an #Algerian II (1/2)

Two days ago Algeria has celebrated the 40th anniversary of the hydrocarbons’ nationalisations. Last year’s celebrations coincided with Sonatrach’s latest known of financial scandal which led, among other things, to the dismissal of one of Bouteflika’s best friends, Chakib Khelil. Things are different this year. Khelil’s successor, Youcef Yousfi, held the celebrations in Hassi Messaoud; and the city’s youths also celebrated the event by blocking the access to the oil plants. They demanded a share in the jobs that are created by the oil exploitation activity. Though the problem is more complex, it cannot be denied that the people of Southern Algeria are not the biggest beneficiaries of the hydrocarbons industry.

This anniversary triggered the idea of this post. A review of a book which talks of this very special and unique period of independent Algeria which witnessed this great achievement.

Ahmed Taleb-Ibrahimi‘s last political appearance in Algeria was in 1999 as a candidate to the presidential elections. He was then portrayed by some of his opponents as a retrograde Islamist who would gather former FIS sympathisers and replace the dissolved party (his party, WAFA, was never approved by the system). This accusation was backed by at least three points: he was supported by Mohand Said, he was Bachir Ibrahimi‘s son and he was Boumediene‘s minister of education when the Arabization process had started. Then Taleb, along all the other candidates opposing Bouteflika, withdrew his candidacy because it became clear that the system had already chosen Algeria’s current president. This withdrawal led Bouteflika’s supporters and many observers to accuse him and the other candidates of executing the DRS’s plan, the aim of which being to reduce Bouteflika’s influence after his plebiscite. Another attempt to candidacy in the 2004 elections wasn’t approved by Zerhouni’s services. Since then, Taleb decided to put an end to his political activities and dedicate his time to writing his memoirs. Continue reading

My apologies Mr. Benbouzid

Boubekeur Benbouzid

Tomorrow Bouteflika will hold his annual ceremony to reward the best Algerian laureates of the 2010 baccalaureate exam. This gives me the opportunity to do something tough which I kept postponing. So today I write this short post to apologise to our great minister of education, Mr. Benbouzid, for accusing him of being not only useless but also a danger which ruined our education system.

Let’s consider the baccalaureate results: from around 19% in 1995 (it was then not really his fault as he was the minister of higher education, and Djebbar was the minister of education), he took this rate to above 61% this year (the success rate was 47% last year and 55% in 2008). How stupid I was when I regretted seeing his name again in the government after the last reshuffle. Now I acknowledge our successive presidents’ great wisdom when they had always kept him in charge. They detected all the wonderful things he could do and they knew he only needed time. So now I fully support them and want to see him in charge till he dies. I am convinced it’s important to give him a lifelong position, and I would have called to elect him as our president if it were not for the loss our education system would suffer.

Continue reading