By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es-Smara, Morocco, February 21, 2012
In a first step described as “courageous” by the majority of teachers all over the country, Morocco’s new minister of education, Mohamed El Wafa, declared in his last meeting with the representatives of the teachers unions the death of the Education Emergency Program, which—according to many reports, articles, and teachers—was merely a waste of national money and energy.
Moroccan teachers are expressing disappointment and frustration as the leaders in Rabat alienate the teaching community in making decisions related to their field. Contrary to what was intended, the so-called Emergency Plan changed nothing on the ground. Large numbers of educators think that it is high time leaders listened to teachers instead of borrowing theories and foreign experiences that would never fit the Moroccan context.
For nearly half a decade, the previous government considered this plan as the magical solution that would achieve reform and create a better atmosphere for teaching and learning inside the Moroccan schools. Unfortunately, the whole project was a waste of money and efforts and has made the situation inside schools worse and full of disappointment, anger, and bitterness on the part of teachers who are and should be considered as the cornerstone of any intended reform.
A teacher working in Es-Semara city said that the whole philosophy of this pedagogy of integration was a failure from its very beginning and it was just a trick to spend huge sums of money in vain. He went on to say that the last decade has been a decade of Belgians: “Two Belgians have swallowed Moroccan budgets: Xavier Rogier, the founder the pedagogy of integration, and, of course, Eric Gerets, Morocco’s National Football Team Coach.”
The Minister’ latest decision, which has been welcomed by teachers, comes after teachers and unions in different cities and regions boycotted training in the new pedagogy launched by the ministry. This type of training has no impact on the quality of student and teacher performance inside the classrooms because the new style disregarded the voice and opinions of the teachers and didn’t take the local specifications of the Moroccan context into account.
But, despite this encouraging step on the part of new minister of education, teachers in many regions will strike from February 22 to 25 to call for the government to reach an agreement about the issue known as “remote areas.” This project was initiated by the previous government with many unions on April 26, 2011. This agreement states that teachers working in remote areas will have the right to an additional sum of 700 Dirhams as compensation for their work in remote and isolated areas.
Still, the main question that faces the new government is which regions to consider remote, and what criteria should be considered in order to be designated remote. These questions are pressing especially because many unions are threatening to strikes in the coming weeks if the ministry doesn’t implement its previous promises with the unions regionally and nationally.
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.
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