By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es Semara, Morocco, January 26, 2012
Es-Semara‘s teachers were given a slap in the face, and stabbed too, as they didn’t expect that less than 50 teachers, including just one female teacher, would answer their call for a one hour demonstration in front of the governor’s headquarters yesterday from 5 to 6 PM in protest of the recent spate of violence that has targeted teachers in the southern Moroccan city.
A member of one of the unions said, “If the student stabbed the teacher, today teachers stabbed their unions as they didn’t answer our call to make this demonstration historical and to send a strong and powerful message to the local authorities and the Ministry of Education that we will never accept being left alone and powerless in the face of violence and aggression, which targets teachers both within and beyond educational institutes and schools.”
In their interventions, some teachers criticized the teachers’ unions for their weakness and their failure to sensitize more teachers. They attributed this to the weak sense of leadership among unions. One teacher stated that “Unions show their teeth and mobilize teachers and unify them only when they want to ask for a raise in salaries, but when teachers’ security and dignity is touched, they are the last to react.”
“It is a shame that merely less than 50 teachers attend an event like this one taking into account that the call for this demonstration was organized by six unions and that there are more than six hundred teachers working in Es-Semara,” he added,
For their part, union representatives tried to explain the low attendance possibly because of the timing of the demonstration as it was scheduled at the end of the first term exam, beside the fact that many teachers had already left the city to pass their holidays with their families. However, several teachers doubted the justifications made by the unions’ activists.
Other teachers in their statements echoed a view that “what is happening lately in many cities, regionally and nationally, aims at marring the position and defame the image of teachers and the public schools in general.”
They claimed that “attacking teachers is an attack on the public school and on the whole society.” “The absence of a robust reaction shows that there are some hidden parties who want the security situation to deteriorate inside public schools,” added the statement.
The same sense of anger, bitterness and disappointment was clear in all educators’ statements. One educator voiced her disgruntlement saying that “what happened and will continue happening shows that it is teachers’ dignity that is stabbed.”
She went on to say that “even if acts of aggression are exponentially repeated, But no one care to react.” “Teachers’ dignity should be above everything and men and women of education will never accept transgression of their dignity, which is the teachers’ symbolic capital,” She added.
At the end, many teachers held the government and the Ministry of Education responsible for doing nothing to protect schools and teachers. They also questioned the validity and the good intentions of civil society that didn’t react to the event.
One demonstrator said that “if I were a homosexual or prostitute and were touched, attacked, insulted, stoned or harassed, all civil society, media, democrats of the country, and human right activists would stand up and condemn such an attack…”
“Now, because it is just a teacher who was stabbed and teachers who were stoned, no one reacts,” he added.
It is expected that this battle against violence at schools will continue after the holidays. Yet, numerous teachers have suggested organizing an open study day and a conference under the theme of ‘Violence at school’. This conference will invite not only teachers, but students and parents also to tackle this serious problem, understand its causes and find suitable and effective solutions to bring peace back to schools.
Rachid Khouya is a teacher of English in Es Smara city, south of Morocco. He obtained a Bachelor Degree in English studies from Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. He published many articles and stories in different regional and national Moroccan newspapers. He is an active member of MATE( Moroccan Association of Teachers of English). He is interested in education, human rights and citizenship.
© Morocco World News