Morocco to Raise School Standards

21 July 2014 , By Siham Ali, Source: Magharebia

Rabat
Morocco just launched a new body to deal with problems affecting the education sector.

The Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research new body aims to address long-standing problems.

The council’s 92 members were installed by King Mohammed VI on Wednesday (July 16th) in Casablanca. The next day, it held its first session in Rabat.

Following consultations with various stakeholders and ministerial departments, the new group will prepare a roadmap to reform the education system.

According to the council’s secretary-general, Abdellatif El Moudni, the body intends to create Moroccan schools that are open to their surroundings and capable of assuming their responsibilities, and to evaluate the education system with a view to reform.

In addition, regional meetings are planned to obtain feedback on the situation on the ground and to kick-start a debate with the various players in education about the mechanisms for change and the highest-priority areas for reform.

“It’s time to take action to rescue Moroccan education, which is suffering from a number of ills leading to under-achievement by learners,” sociologist Samira Kassimi said.

She cites “overcrowded classrooms, the weak links between secondary and higher education and a drop in the level of language learning”.

“In short, Moroccan state schools are failing, driving parents to take refuge in private schools. As for higher education, we need to look at adapting it to suit the needs of the world of employment, targeting new fields of study and teaching methods,” she explained.

Many parents are hoping for a miracle solution to bring state education up to their expectations.

Rahma Chami, 42, a civil servant and mother of two, said that parents paid the price for the failure of state education.

“In spite of my limited financial resources, I’m forced to pay out four thousand dirhams a month to cover my children’s school fees. That’s two-thirds of my salary. But I simply don’t have a choice because state schools have failed to improve at all for years now,” she said.

She and others are counting on the Higher Council for National Education to overhaul the system.

Salim Chatibi, a bank clerk, doubts the new body will be able to offer a real answer.

“They’ve been setting up new bodies and committees for years now, yet without managing to make any improvement to the education situation,” he said.

“They need to move on from talking and get down to doing things to meet the targets they’ve set, with quality as a priority,” he added.