EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND INNOVATION: THE ALGERIAN EXPERIENCE IN THE LIGHT OF THE BOLOGNA PROCESS
The European policy-makers involved in the Bologna process agreed on the demise of traditional tertiary education which failed to cope with worldwide shifts brought forth by globalization, a phenomenon characterized by people’s uncontrolled migration, capital mobility, and the rapid progress of media and technology throughout the globe respectively referred to in Appadurai’s construct by ethnoscape, financescape, media scapes and ideoscape. To correct the drawbacks of the previous system, the reform set in motion after several debates included the adjustments deemed necessary, notably the interdependence between the university and socio-economic growth, enhanced attention to technology, teaching efficiency, and accountability.
Fully aware of the global environment, the Algerian authorities applied in their turn the European reform of post-secondary education in 2004. The type of education the reform seeks to implement is designed to boost students’ employability. Higher education institutions are thus placed at the centre of the development process and, therefore, pedagogical curricular and methodological approaches should equip students with the skills to enable them enter today’s complex world. With this end in view, partnership between the Algerian university and the socio-economic sector is sought through economic operators’ involvement in curricula and evaluation.
The interdependence between the educational system and the labour market implies modification of the role of the teacher who is expected to become a guide placing his students at the heart of the learning process by taking into account their interests and needs. Unfortunately, individualized training is seldom provided in the Algerian universities where the old practice of students’ massive enrolment continues to prevail, especially in the humanities. Didactic methods have hardly changed although attempts at improving the Algerian students’ autonomy through their direct participation in the learning process are made. Fieldwork opportunities are created by some universities to foster their awareness of real problems and their contribution to sorting them out. Because of its dynamic role in the learning process, the use of the internet is strongly recommended. Learning foreign languages is encouraged and English, in particular, is used as a medium to keep abreast with recent research and innovations. To further improve the quality of research, other decisions were taken such as printing scientific documents in all fields of knowledge, creating digital libraries, and establishing a Commission for the Implementation of Quality Assurance whose task consists in training a quality assurance staff with the cooperation of expatriate experts.