By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, April 23, 2012
With the increasingly rampant phenomenon of students’ violence towards their teachers as was shown in a 2M program a couple of days ago, several interviewed teachers uttered complaints about the disrespectful manner they are treated at school by students, students’ parents, and society at large. On this occasion, in a meeting held last Thursday in Rabat, Abdelilah Benkirane, head of the government, showed his concern about what has befallen holders of the noble profession and promised to take serious measures if teachers still continue to suffer. Yet, what still holds true according to teachers’ reaction to the news is that if the government respects us, the society will definitely do the same.
Last year, all Moroccan schools witnessed a ‘paralysis’ for multiple days, due to the number of strikes teachers went on to claim their basic rights. To silence the anger of teachers at the time and repress their efforts in protesting, the government resorted to mercilessly beating and caning them. Teachers with Bachelor and Master degrees didn’t procure their right to be upgraded with their diplomas until some of them were threatened with dismissal, some others were beaten and caned, sustaining injuries, and others were mortified through rumors in the public media.
Therefore, how could Benkirane direct students and their parents to hold their teachers in esteem at a time when the government itself doesn’t respect teachers? During the time of strikes, many parents took to the street, urging the government to bring teachers back to work, for students hadn’t studied sufficiently enough. It is not surprising then how many parents hold grudge towards teachers even though they are not even aware of the motives underlying the strikes. The feelings of the parents at home and in the society are contagious in that students imitate their parents and, therefore, grow more violent in classes.
How can one expect students to behave well at school when they hear that teachers are beaten by the government, that their salaries undergo pay cuts, that there is a continuous struggle between teachers and the Education ministry that they always have to face rumors spread by the public media and the government itself? Last year, as a teacher working in Zagora, I went at a loss when one of my students asked me if it is true that the government beats us each time we go on strike. Students will no longer think of teachers as noble people if they happen to be beaten. The government has always turned a blind eye to the tarnishing programs shown on 2M about teachers. The way the government deals with strikes implies that the onus is on teachers, not on its failed strategies.
The meager, impoverishing salaries the government has devoted to teaching is a clear sign of indifference on its part. Now, the society looks down on teachers, blaming them for being tight-fisted, for not educating their children in the appropriate way. The society envies teachers their recurrent holidays. Regrettably, the government revels in this spread rumour and never reacts to rectify parents’ misconceptions about the lives of teachers. Both the government and society mercilessly put the blame on teachers for the simple reason of going on strike in quest for their rights. To put it simply, if the government does its utmost to protect teachers from these misconceptions by uplifting their spirits, parents, students and society will no longer judge teachers at face value. At the very least, students will abstain from more violence.