By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Es Semara, Morocco, April 9, 2012
Teachers spent more than 15 years in ‘cell 9’ without getting promoted.
In their first reaction to the government’s possible decision to cut their salaries if they continue striking, many teachers from different unions expressed to MWN their intention to boycott the coming final exams at all levels of primary, secondary and high school. They even revealed that they are considering not giving marks to their students which, once students are involved in this ‘open virtual war’ between the Ministry of Education and teachers, will make the situation even worse.
Many teachers claim that the government will not frighten them by its `illogical and childish’ threats, which, in their opinions, will not solve the problem, more than it will make the whole issue more complex and open to many other bad scenarios. For instance, the group of primary school teachers labeled as “prisoners of cell 9” who have spent more than fifteen years at grade 9 without getting promotions and their legal rights, are intending to strike for 2 weeks after the holidays which start this week in Morocco. They will resume work after the holidays on April the 23rd, and then on the 24th, they will strike for the following two weeks.
Mr. Ali Abaida, a member of the local bureau representing ‘teachers of cell 9’ in Es Smara in the south of the kingdom, told MWN: “in case the ministry dares to touch or cut teachers’ wages, the latter will change their strategies about striking and they will think of more effective ones that will oblige the ministry to be reasonable and solve teachers’ problems instead of ignoring them.” He added that “among the ideas that teachers are now putting on the table in their discussions, is the possibility of an open strike and boycotting all regional and national exams in terms of administering, proctoring and correcting the exams and giving the final marks of assessments to administrators, students and families.”
In regards to the student, Mr. Ali Abaida said that “teachers do not want to involve them in this ‘imaginary war’ between the ministry and the teachers because they think about students’ interests, more than the ministry.” He went on to say that “the government and the ministry should open venues of dialogue with the teachers concerned, listen to them and provide suitable and fruitful solutions to put an end to this sad atmosphere and dark mood which is affecting badly both teachers and the public schools.”
After a year of continuous strikes in primary schools, Mohmed El Wafa, the new minister of education, recently told the teachers that he has no idea about their situation and that he didn’t know about their strikes, a declaration that many teachers found absurd and meaningless. The public opinion questions this declaration because it is impossible that students have not been studying for months in many schools and regions and the minister pretend to be the last ones to know taking into account the teachers of ‘cell 9’ have been striking for two to four days continuously every week since the beginning of the current academic year.
For sure, the situation is going to be hot in Moroccan schools as the misunderstanding, miscommunication, stubbornness and tug of war is rising between the new minster of education and the teachers. Wisdom insists that all parties must be wise, put students’ interest ahead of any political or selfish or individual interests and think before letting the Moroccan school system’s ship sink.
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 (Email: [email protected]).
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