Announcement of Transition to English in Moroccan Universities Goes Viral

Liz Yaslik
Liz Yaslik is a Middle East and North African researcher studying Arabic at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez. She recently completed her work as a Middle East and Arabic research analyst for Thomson Reuters based in Singapore. During her time at ...
Announcement of Transition to English in Moroccan Universities Goes Viral

New York – Moroccans expressed mixed reactions to the announcement made by the Minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, to transition to English as the main foreign language in Moroccan universities. The minister said the language change would push the Moroccan education system forward and keep Morocco more in line with the rest of the world.

Currently, French is the official foreign language in Moroccan universities, but Minister Daoudi expressed concern that this was holding Moroccan students back in comparison with the rest of the world.

Some Moroccans feel the idea is advantageous and the time is well past due to for Moroccan universities to make the switch from French to English. “The younger generations have progressively contributed to uprooting linguistic tradition which once was a major source of French pride. If Moroccans don’t open their eyes to the rest of the world and try to liberate themselves from this complex called ‘la France et les Francais’ our progress will suffer immensely,” Jawad Boujida commented to MWN.

Many Moroccans maintain that university students are being left behind by holding so tightly onto the French language and are losing ground as more and more regions around the world focus on elevating English as a second language in their countries. “Indeed, we must abandon French and welcome English, and say no to Moroccan educational policy. We are aware that adoption of French is a colonial dependency not an academic option,” online user Islam Zitane commented to MWN.

One of the main components behind Minister Daoudi’s declaration is the fact that English is the language used around the world to produce scientific research. As more scientific research and publications are produced in English, the more the language becomes an essential element in any academic atmosphere.

Paula Foster Chambers, an education professional at the California Institute of the Arts, saw this declaration as a good idea. “As a PhD myself and a higher education professional in the States, I can testify that English is indeed the language of scientific research and of the higher education world in general,” Chambers expressed to MWN online.

Most Moroccans articulated a sense of rejoice and relief that this realization was made and that the Ministry was finally taking a large step in the right direction. “Absolutely right French is far behind English. We look forward to seeing English as the first language in Morocco,” Amine Be commented to MWN online.

Yet others were reluctant to see the change to English as a beneficial move and would rather see the Arabic language take priority in Moroccan universities. “Arabic is the solution if we want to go forward… I’m not against English but I don’t want another failed education system. English is better than French for sure, but Arabic is the solution,” user Al Othman commented on MWN online.

The transition will push Moroccan university students to become fluent in English as a condition for obtaining a doctorate in engineering and medical programs. Moroccan university students will now be encouraged to collaborate with the rest of the English-speaking world and include themselves in the realm of English language scientific research communities across the globe.

“English is the solution for us to become a developed country in the future. This decision is the best one made by our government. I can see a clever move there, and I totally support it. We can’t deny or abandon our roots and origins, but we should surely choose what’s best for us and our country,” Salma Fedaili, a student at the American Language Center in Rabat, said to MWN.

With fluent English language skills, students will have the opportunity to contribute to academic research journals from various regions and share their findings with colleagues from around the world. In this respect, French would limit their audience and possibly even deteriorate their findings if the research were to be translated into English.

“Finally, our government decided to move forward and open the doors for many amazing opportunities that young Moroccans missed! E-marketing, E-commerce, trade and online marketing are the most generating fields and all in English,” Afifa Melouane commented to MWN online.

Moroccan students feel that with English they will be able to widen their audience as well as their ability to communicate with other researchers and scientists around the globe.

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  • ZionistSlayer

    The solution is Darija – getting rid of Classical Arabic, Amazigh and French and putting in English as a second language

    • guest

      Why should moroccans study darija when they already know it?

      • ZionistSlayer

        They don’t need to study it, that is the point. They should learn other disciplines and sciences in Darija.

        Imagine for example how much easier it is to teach a child how to solve complex math problems in Darija, as opposed to French?

        When you teach someone a new science or art in a language that is not their mother tongue, all you are doing is adding obstacles to the learning process. This is a fact.

        I believe in English because it is a useful language. Walk into a room and find people speaking German, Spanish, French, Arabic and Chinese, if you speak to them in English, everyone else will start speaking English. English always wins.

        However, if you really want to teach our youth, particularly from a young age… Darija is the solution. I would abolish Amazigh except as an elective second language, and have it be just like Spanish, German, French and other non-essential languages.

        English should be introduced to all students starting in 6th grade, for math, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and all other subjects in a progressive way.

        I can tell you as a fact that the only way Morocco will ever move forward is if Moroccans become proud to be Moroccans – learning in your mother tongue is required for that to ever happen.

  • Nick

    Great article, but I think Morocco is doing way better under France than their shitty government.

    • Nikola Slydini

      when the French economy shrunk by 1.2% during the world crisis, the Moroccan economy grew by 3.3% under the new Kings leadership.
      France is doing way better under the help it’s getting from the Germans because without them, France would of been for sale.

      • amina

        Has our minister ever set foot in a classroom in a Moroccan public school? I think we should start by improving conditions,reduce number of students per language class,change the obsolete materials before thinking of English as a language of instruction in universities.If ever the measure is adopted , it will only widen the already large gap between the privileged and the underprivileged -the majority !

        • Nikola Slydini

          I respectfully disagree with your statement that implies English might hinder the university students in Morocco. If anything, the vast amount of free information available on the internet would aid the students to further develop their knowledge and allow them to interact with the international community. India is a prime example of a country where the majority of people live in substandard living conditions, but yet who’s students out perform many other countries. The same goes for Egypt and I think this has something to do with the implementation of English as the secondary language. I see no benefit in keeping French.
          But I would agree with you, that the ministers much take better action. The educational system in both previous countries I mentioned have a much better structure.

  • Khalid ibn Walid

    The fastest growing economies in the future is in Africa. Many countries in Africa are French-speaking. Morocco is far ahead in development compared to many other countries in Africa. Morocco could become a leading nation both economically and culturally in Africa and then it’s fine with French. It is good if we learn English too.

    Classical Arabic and Amazigh is important for us to know our roots. Without roots and identity, then we are lost. This is a problem today. We Moroccans belong to africa but we are more like the people of the Middle East but we want to be like Europeans.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/pascalemmanuelgobry/2014/03/21/want-to-know-the-language-of-the-future-the-data-suggests-it-could-be-french/

    • guest

      Actually their is a strong push towards English in French speaking african countries. French is no longer revelant or holds importance in Scientific fields and is quite useless in Technological and engineering fields. Even in business and commercial English is zooming forward. So Morocco needs to adopt English and leave French as an optional language for those who wish.

  • (:mar Belhaj

    Everyone in morocco should learn Amazigh First….Hell with the murders who kill your brothers in Palestine, Iraq Afghanistan Etc.. have some pride people. and
    ZionistSlayer •I cant stand you please do us a favour and go and jump off a bridge, you are a miserable person. I don’t normally advocate suicide but in your case I will make an exception.

    • guest

      And your beloved Amazigh will certainly keep Morocco in the dark. Wake up to reality mate!

  • abdellah

    a pointless country nonetheless. Doesn’t matter what improvements they install, institutions they build or reforms they make. If the mindset of the people doesn’t change, neither will the country do

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