“The state of finances in our country does not help us address all requests to improve school conditions in primary schools,” Ouyahya told MPs, adding that local elected members will have to find solutions as the treasury is unable to continue financing primary schools.
Algerian columnists are wondering if such statements ring the alarm bell as to the end of state-funding for primary schools in a country battled by a financial crisis due to a drop in oil prices.
Analysts see that rich communities could finance public schools but children in rural areas will be severely affected by a slash in state funding.
Algeria has nearly 19,000 primary schools that absorb a budget of $6.22 billion.
Algeria has slashed the education budget in 2018 by $580 million down from $6.78 billion in 2017 while maintaining lavish spending on the army.
The decision to slash funding for schools is likely to further ignite tension in the Algerian society where state subsidies have long been used to buy social peace.
With austerity measures, import restrictions and price hikes, 2018 bodes ill for Algeria as discontent continues to grow at the failing government’s policies.
Meanwhile, Algeria’s foreign exchange reserves are expected to drop to $85 billion at best by the end of 2018 down from $194 billion in 2014, barely enough to cover 18 months of imports.