Minister urges university-region development partnerships

Universities in Algeria must become ‘social partners’ in local and regional development, said Tahar Hadjar, minister of higher education and scientific research, during a visit to the Saharan province of El Oued to inspect new university projects.

“It is up to the Algerian university to be an effective social partner in local development, depending on the specific features of each region,” said Hadjar, who stressed the importance of universities to local authorities in the long term through the introduction of scientific programmes geared to development needs, reported the Algérie Presse Service or APS.

He announced that a project in El Oued was for a higher education institution specialising in agronomic sciences, which would become a prominent centre for the development of Saharan agriculture for the country’s southern regions.

University projects in the region included a new university centre for 8,000 students, named after the writer and journalist Tahar Ben Aïcha, and further plans for 2,000 student places and other facilities, including a 1,000-seat library and a restaurant with 800 places. Also being developed were a university stadium and a 3,000-bed university residence.

The following day Hadjar said in a speech commemorating the massacres of Algerians carried out by the French in 1945 that Algeria had achieved a ‘qualitative leap’ in raising university and educational provision since independence, reported APS.

At that time the country had only one university with 800 students, while today there were 107 universities catering for nearly 1.5 million students.

With reference to the 1945 events, he said: “The Algerian university has made available to researchers, historians and students the practical means for analysing and shedding light on the history of Algeria, by Algerians themselves.”

This had been made possible thanks to the efforts of the university authorities in helping researchers access and use classified historic archives and documents in libraries and museums, as well as the living witnesses of combatants who had lived through the war for national liberation.

* This article is drawn from local media. University World News cannot vouch for the accuracy of the original reports.