To address the high rate of youth unemployment and bring skills in line with international standards, Algeria’s government is looking to diversify degrees in tertiary education to meet the economy’s growing demands for skilled labour. To achieve its objective, the country is boosting partnerships with foreign institutions to diversify offerings. “The current educational system lacks a close understanding of the job market and private institutions could help to reduce the mismatch between level of competencies and requirements of the labour market,” Brahim Benabdeslem, the director of Management Development International (MDI) Algiers Business School, told OBG.

Under the licence-master-doctorat (LMD) system, the authorities are reviewing curricula to make programmes more responsive to job market needs. In 2010/11, 354 new professionally oriented bachelor’s degrees and 126 new master’s programmes were created. The LMD system will offer 3193 bachelor’s, 2308 master’s and 880 doctoral programmes in 2011/12.

PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS: The private education sector is taking on an increasingly vital role in building the skills of the labour force as more and more students benefit from the transfer of knowledge due to a growing number of international partnerships, particularly in segments such as business management and finance. The École Supérieure Algérienne des Affaires (ESAA) was created in 2005 in partnership with three French business schools (ESCP Europe, HEC Paris and Euromed Management) and the French University of Lille, and specialises in subjects including accountancy, finance and marketing. The ESAA is Algeria’s only public business school offering students two master’s degrees accredited by both Algeria and France.

Similar degrees can also be found at the business school École de Formation en Technique de Gestion (EFTG), a state-accredited private school created in 1992 specialising in management programmes for new graduates and continuing education. Since 2007, the school offers a one-year degree in business administration in partnership with the Paris-based European Institute of Business Administration (Institut Européen des Affaires, IEA) Paris. A three-year programme delivering a bachelor’s degree has also been on offer since 2010/11 in partnership with French ICN business school (Nancy-Metz), and two new bachelor’s degrees will be launched for the 2013/14 academic year: an event management degree in partnership with IEA Lille and an international degree in tourism management in partnership with Groupe Sup de Co de la Rochelle.

CONTINUING EDUCATION: A significant proportion of continuing education provision is undertaken by the private sector. Some 10,000 to 12,000 professionals enrol annually at MDI, a business school established in 1996. Moreover, the Centre for Industrial Studies trains managers in a variety of sectors, offering in-house training to some 300 firms. Demand for continuing education has intensified as businesses have rushed to bring staff skills in line with International Financial Reporting Standards. Firms listed in the EU have been required to comply with these standards since 2005.

SCIENCE: Under its five-year development plan, Algeria is placing particular emphasis on scientific studies and research. In June 2012, the University of Algiers signed an agreement with Harvard Medical School and Boston’s Northeastern University to boost scientific research. This partnership will allow Algerian students take part in workshops at both US universities.

Similarly, the country entered another agreement in 2012 with South Africa to launch a new joint science programme that will run until 2015. Each country will spend a total of $2m to fund projects in subjects such as biotechnology, water resources, health care and energy. Short-term exchange programmes will also be set up under the agreement, allowing students of both countries to attend their universities.

Partnerships such as these are expected to help the country boost its pharmaceuticals industry by increasing capacity for local production, thus reducing its pharma import bill – which amounted to $2bn in 2011.