English Language in the Service of Morocco

Colin Kilkelly
Colin Kilkelly is an editor with 30 years in international publishing. He has worked in all of the countries in the Maghreb and Egypt. He is based in Marrakech.
English Language in the Service of Morocco

Marrakech – When the Moroccan Minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, stated that English should be the primary language for medical and information technology teaching in universities, it boosted the hopes of every English-speaking person in Morocco and made a path for English to advance in Moroccan society.

The predominance of the French language, or, in some regions Spanish, is the result of historic connections from decades past. Impressive educational and cultural institutions like the Institut Français and the Cervantes Institute support these old connections and also provide an invaluable service to Morocco.

Teaching English in Morocco has long been the undertaking of American schools and language centers. The British Council in Morocco has excellent business language courses as well as an English learning website available in French and English. It does not matter whether students focus on British or American English, though they do differ in some respects, the importance, as Minister Daoudi pointed out, is that English is a global language used in research communities and universities worldwide.

Languages give way for more opportunities and the use of English as the language of business and commerce will surely help more young Moroccans find jobs. The goal of teaching English in Morocco is to elevate the language to a higher level and encourage more private schools to offer English. The Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane is an outstanding example of an English language university that follows an American style curriculum. However, English language teaching in Morocco needs to be made available to more students. There have been discussions about establishing a university with a British style curriculum in the Kingdom; this would be a very positive development and would build on the work of the Oxford Chevening scholarships.

As more and more of the Moroccan population commits to learning English, there will be more opportunities for economic advancement and investment in English language markets around the world. The flourishing Casablanca Finance Center is already thriving and is going to need more English speakers. The number of Moroccan financial and investment experts working in London reached over 400 people some years ago. With Moroccan banks and businesses working so proactively in Africa, the need to reach English-speaking African economies like Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana is extremely important. Morocco has had great success with trading and investment in the francophone areas of Africa, but it could increase its profitability if it could open call centers for English-speaking countries.

More importantly, more and more young Moroccans are beginning to study and become fluent in English. The emergence of English language news websites has boosted interest in the language and introduced English language news as an alternative to the Moroccan and French media. The talent was actually already in Morocco and the young writers who learned English in Moroccan universities have proved they are capable of writing about Morocco in English as good as anyone else in the world.

Hopefully, young children in schools will have the opportunity to study English early in life because the earlier they start studying, the better. Moroccans are good at learning languages and now it is time to prove that Morocco can take on one more language challenge and jump into the world of English.

Edited by Liz Yaslik

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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