Reforming the Moroccan school: The bitter reality

Reforming the Moroccan school: The bitter reality

By Rachid Ait Oumaiz

Morocco World News

Agadir, Morocco,  February 19, 2012

Let me share with you a video I have recently seen in Tamazight TV . The video is about the suffering of Moroccan primary schools in remote areas. During 5 minutes, the time of the video, the journalist takes us to a unique but real classroom in our beloved Morocco.

A teacher, as the video demonstrates, teaches six separate levels in one classroom. He divides the classroom into different groups; each group represents one level. He does so because he is the only teacher in the school and he cannot find an alternative except for mixing the different classes in one. He says: ‘to teach six levels in one class is extraordinary.

Even Science fiction cannot reach that, let alone the real classroom’. But, that is reality. The students come from distinct and far places. They spend about 1 hour and half to arrive to the school. Once they come, they need another hour for rest and breakfast. The teacher says that when it rains nobody comes to his class, simply because it’s hard for the students to climb all the mountains and cross all the rivers so as to attend the class. Another challenge the teacher is facing lies in the curriculum. ‘If you managed to finish half of the program, you would be among the luckiest people in the world’ he says.

This story is an example of what’s going in rural areas in our country, lack of electricity, lack of equipment, lack of teachers and luck of willingness to solve some of the structural problems our educational system is facing.

Our educational system has undergone several reforms so far. However, the results we are getting are unsatisfactory. Can we imagine a twenty- first century classroom where we mix six different levels? What can educators, teachers, supervisors and government officials say about this case? What can those who talk about ‘Genie’ program and the ‘New Emergency Plan’ say about the sad story of our schools?

Obviously, the new government has just started its mission. It would be absurd to blame it for the things it was not responsible for. The catastrophe is an outcome of the false policies adopted by the previous governments. But, the fact that such kind of schools exist in Morocco questions the intention of the new government and its willingness to reform ‘the bad reforms’. In developed countries, a small problem in schools can urge the whole government to resign. However, in this country none would dare to react as if the school was in another planet. It’s shame on us all.

So what should be done now? What are the actions that we have to take? And what are the clear decisions that we have to make? Unfortunately, there is no clear-cut answer to these questions at least for the time being.

I do believe that the crisis in our educational system is structural. That is, it touches all the different components of our schools. It’s only through national dialogues, conferences, and discussions that we can solve some problems. Everyone should contribute to the prosperity of our schools. Gone forever were the days when we remained silent. Now, we have to cry for our schools in order to smile in the near future. We have to search for comprehensive solutions because we can’t wait. We want change in our schools ‘here and now’.

Rachid Ait Oumaiz is a Moroccan high school teacher of English. He holds a professional BA in TEFL&ICT (Teaching English as a Foreign Language and Information Communication Technology) from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. By Rachid Ait Oumaiz is an active member of MATE (The Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is also interested in Politics, International Relations, Social Studies and Journalism.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.

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