Program “Massar”: when Moroccan students choose the wrong battle

Omar Bihmidine
Omar Bihmidine is a junior high school teacher of English in Sidi Ifni city. He obtained his Associate Degree at Choaib Eddoukali University in 2008. He earned his B.A. from Ibn Zohr university, Agadir. His writings take the form of short stories, poems and ...
Program “Massar”: when  Moroccan students choose the wrong battle

Sidi Ifni, Morocco- As soon as the Ministry of Education adopted a new grading system called “Massar” as part of reforming assessments and computerizing students’ grades, students rose up against it and called on the Ministry to discontinue its application. Students took to the streets after the rumor spread that the new grading system will be to their disadvantage

We are dealing with students who have risen up against reform from the Ministry of Education. This is unprecedented.  It appears that they are protesting a positive reform, which is unfortunate.

As we know, in the age of technology, teachers no longer need to fill in traditional grading papers. If we ask these students why they are against the new system, they will tell you that it is intricate, mysterious, and threatening, but they will not give any convincing reasons as to why they are trying to boycott it. What the students do not understand, unfortunately, is that the more sophisticated their grading is, the better their education will become. Students must bear in mind that a grading system is simply like a calculator

It is also saddening that some teachers’ unions  have spoken ill of it, too. Instead of responding to a recent UNESCO report that has unveiled our educational system’s embarrassing reputation, our students and their parents fear that their grades sheets are in danger. They are afraid that the students’ success is at stake.

I have talked to several students who spearhead the campaign against “ Massar” and asked them about the real motives behind their “uprising.” They all mentioned that the grading system will wrong them and might make them fail. But these students do not understand that the newly adopted system will do no such thing, unless warranted.

All the administrators have to do is to fill in the computerized sheet with the marks teachers gave to students. “Massar” automatically gives the total grade, without doing injustice to any student. On the contrary, a teacher may make errors, while a machine cannot. We withdraw money from cash machines without making a fuss about whether or not they make errors. They are trustworthy, and so is “Massar.”

Students, along with their parents, have chosen the wrong cause. While Turkish students welcomed technology-based education with open arms, Moroccan students have reacted negatively, expressing an irrational fear of the use of computers and programs at school.

Maybe we tend to respond when we do not have to, and hesitate to respond when we must. Our students have responded angrily to a reform that will help them a great deal with their schooling. But it is strange that they have not responded in the same way when their Ministry has failed to reform education for many years now. We must remind our dear students that the purpose of “Massar” is to grant equal access and guarantee transparency.

With “ Massar,” parents can access their children’s marks and keep track of progress in their studies. In Sidi Ifni, for instance, most of the students who have spearheaded the campaign have failing grades. This simply means that they are protesting just to have fun and enjoy making noise.

However, students did not take the initiative on their own. Some parents, along with a few teachers, must have incited them to reject having their grades counted by the grading system. It is a pity our society suffers from technophobia, and fearing “Massar” is an indication of this.

Edited by Katrina Bushko

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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