By Houda El Mouatassim
By Houda El Mouatassim
Morocco World News
Marrakesh, June 29, 2012
The Board of Directors at the Ministry of Education is constantly making decisions that usually neglect the rights of teachers while aiming at protecting the rights of students, without emphasizing the students’ duties. Regardless of this emphasis on students’ rights, there have not been any improvements worth mentioning when it comes to the accomplishments of students.
A person from outside the educational system would disagree with the previous statement, providing the success rate of the students in their Baccalaureate exams as an example of effectiveness. However, a student’s grade is not always the right tool to determine the knowledge they learned at school.
Achieving a baccalaureate degree does not necessarily mean a student actually deserves it. Other elements are also involved in this equation–one only teachers can solve. This is not because it is a tough problem, but because the circumstances that surround the problem are somehow privy only to teachers.
In order to solve this equation, some matters need to be analyzed closely:
There are two ways for a student to succeed at school—and eventually obtain a degree such as the baccalaureate—a moral and an immoral one. The moral way obviously has to do with the student benefiting from the efforts made by their teachers all year long, and surely making their own efforts to study. Their hard work makes the student capable of answering almost any question correctly on the day of the exam, automatically leading them to earn good grades as well as a rich general knowledge.
The immoral way of success in school is likely due to cheating during exams, a solution that many students resort to because they want to succeed without making any real effort.
On the other hand, the main reason behind students’ success in cheating–besides the lack of punishment–is shockingly the fact that teachers have become afraid for their own safety. Teachers are afraid because no one guarantees their safety. Often the teacher is abused verbally, physically, or both, by students whose only worry during exam periods is to cheat and succeed on exams by all means possible.
Students nowadays arm themselves with knives, daggers and words such as “cheat or beat,” as weapons to use against teachers whose only “crime” is to monitor properly, giving the teachers a “choice” between leaving the exam room either safe or hurt. Unfortunately these are definitely not empty threats.
Testimonies of many teachers who have lived through these horrible experiences support this claim. Many teachers faced abuse from students including swearing at them, hitting them, or sabotaging their vehicles, if not all of these situations. When, or more precisely “if,” the student who committed such misdemeanors happens to be sent to a disciplinary board, orders from upper authorities usually force on the teacher to ignore the “incident.” This is because the authorities claim that, the entire educational system aims to stop students dropping out of schools, not students fighting in schools.
As a result any student who has assaulted a teacher and walked away with it will repeat it twice, if not more. Many other students who had heard the news of the assault will not hesitate to imitate this heinous act believing that no harm will come to them. This is because after all, the student is always the one that is protected.
A recent example of such an incident occurred when a male high school teacher was assaulted both inside and outside Mohamed VI High School in Ouarzazate, where the abused was invigilating the abuser. After preventing a student from cheating on a Thursday morning during the science exam, the student threatened the teacher verbally inside the testing room with hurtful and hostile words followed by physical harm once the teacher stepped out of the school. The assault was not carried out only by the student but by a group of his friends as well. Luckily for the teacher, he was able to seek refuge in the high school itself since he was still close to it. Otherwise, no one knows how far those abusers were willing to go in seeking their revenge against the poor teacher.
These incidents are worthy of mentioning because they represent the teachers’ cause in general, since any of us could be in that teacher’s shoes if no measures are taken to eradicate students’ rebellion once and for all.
Only when the eradication of rebellion is accomplished can teachers monitor fearlessly. Only then can students succeed depending on their level of education not on how they have become bullies. Only then can they make sure that there is no other option but to work hard and make efforts in order to earn their grades and succeed accordingly. Only then will education go back to what it used to be when the teacher had the authority to act as he or she sees fit in their classroom, without having to abide by laws made by decision makers who have not been inside an actual classroom for many years.
After all, no one is more familiar with students’ different needs, qualities, circumstances and the appropriate tools to deal with all of the above, than the teachers themselves.
Edited by Laura Cooper
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy.