By Jamal Elabiad
By Jamal Elabiad
Morocco World News
Zagora, June 22, 2012
I was one of those teachers around Zagora who were lucky this year to move to work in or near their home-towns. I can’t tell you how happy I was when one of my close friends told me over the telephone that my new place of work was Kenitra.
I spent seven years in Zagora, a South-eastern Moroccan city. I started applying for a transfer since my third year there. Middle school teachers are obliged to spend three years in their workplaces before starting to take part in the national transfer movement.
I applied four times for a new work place, but in vain. That’s because the cities I wanted to move to were not in need of English teachers. Meknes is one of those cities. If I had applied for it this year, I would have worked another year in Zagora. There are teachers who have spent more than 12 years in Zagora due to the fact that they apply to move to cities or towns that aren’t in need of teachers or have more than enough.
My point is that while some places across Morocco suffer from a shortage of teachers, other places have more than enough. Some teachers attributed this to bribery. For them, it’s bribery that lies behind the transfer to areas that do not need teachers. There are exceptions, of course.
In Zagora, I worked with teachers from different cities, including Agadir, Meknes, Casablanca, Errachidia, and Khnifra. I will never forget some of those teachers, and it’s next to impossible for me to meet their likes in Kenitra.
Frankly, I will miss them so much. One reason why they are unforgettable is that they are teachers in every sense of the word. I prefer to name them “teachers for change.” It really honors me to be one of them.
They deserve such a name for several reasons, one of which is the fact that they managed to put an end to many illegalities at school. They were ready to protest against anyone who considered himself above the law. The school headmaster is an example in point. Seldom did he come to or leave work on time. And sometimes he didn’t come to school at all.
It’s the teachers for change that forced him to be present at school on time like all the other employees. They threatened to sign a petition against him and send it to the delegation of the ministry of education unless he respected his timetable.
Another illegal practice the headmaster used to commit was making decisions without consulting the school management board, whose members are mostly teachers. He, for instance, used to assign training courses only to his followers. In other words, he used to prefer his followers over pro-change teachers at school when it comes to training sessions. By followers I mean the teachers the headmaster resorted to from time to time to defend himself.
They decided to be on the headmaster’s side with the aim of serving their own interests. The school headmaster, however, didn’t give anything for free. For example, he could sign the PV on a teacher’s behalf only if he/ she accepted to be one of his followers. By the way, the PV is a document teachers, including those coming from faraway cities, are obliged to sign at the opening and closing of every new academic year.
In brief, those teachers were sometimes, for the headmaster, like a battalion with which he more than twice attacked his “enemies” at school. He once ordered them to petition against a pro-change teacher who talked during a school meeting about a number of problems students were going through. The reason behind the petition was the fact that the problems the teachers exposed were against the headmaster’s motto; “Everything is going quite well at school.”
Back to the training sessions the headmaster gave to only members of his battalion. Upon learning that the headmaster gave a three-day training session to some of his followers, pro-change teachers decided to go to the delegation and complain about the fact that they were deprived of one of their basic rights: attending training sessions.
The delegation’s reaction was that the headmaster was wrong when he didn’t inform them about that training session and when he selected teachers to take part in training sessions without respecting the criterion that it’s the teachers’ role, not the headmaster’s, to select those who will attend training sessions. The criterion gives the priority to teachers who have not been trained. Needless to say that the teachers the headmaster selected already benefited from training sessions.
Unexpectedly, the deputy of the ministry of education didn’t take any punitive measure against the headmaster. He just rejected the list of trainees the headmaster sent him and asked him to send another list that respected the aforementioned criteria.
Pro-change teachers were later on told that the reason why the deputy didn’t punish the headmaster was that the latter was among those he heavily depended on to hide the problems Zagora schools face, particularly when senior officials of the ministry of education visit the city with the purpose of knowing whether its schools suffer from any troubles.
Writing about the years I spent in Zagora is one of my dreams. Three years ago, I started writing about what happened to me during my fifth year in the city. However, I stopped doing that for several reasons, the most important of which was that I found it difficult to write about a city I was still living in. Now that I will say goodbye to Zagora in the coming few weeks, I will surely finish writing what I started in 2009.