By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Smara, Morocco, September 26, 2012
Before talking about education, we should show that we are educated people respecting educated people. This is most important for those who work in or care about the field of education. Being a Minister of Education does not mean that a person is God’s gift to education in our country and it does not mean that he or she is a prophet sent by God to reform the unreformed.
Let’s be clear about this from the very beginning: a minister, alone, cannot change the reality of our schools or improve the quality of our teachers, students and curriculum. This is a societal project that necessitates the cooperation of everybody. To get people’s involvement and cooperation, the Minister should be wise enough to show respect to them and treat them as partners, not as slaves or employees on a farm.
The Moroccan Minister of Education threatened to dismiss, without hesitation, the delegates and the heads of the academies if they dared to mention the real problems facing the educational system. These problems have hindered and will continue to hinder reform and the application of the last ministerial announcement, in particular, the one instructing all teachers of primary schools to work in the mornings from 8:00 to 12:00 and from 14:00 to 16:30 in the afternoons. Logically speaking, it is not just difficult to apply this directive. In fact, it is impossible for the sole reason that there are more teachers than classrooms. How can all the teachers teach at the same time every morning and afternoon when the majority of our primary schools do not have enough classrooms?
The memo from the Minister that surprised all the delegates and men and women of education, shows that the Minister didn’t take his time and ask for his delegates’ opinions before making a decision that will be detrimental to the fate of our schools. If he had asked them in advance, they would have informed him that it is impossible to apply this in many regions and schools. Even so, everyone is frightened of being dismissed. Such an undemocratic atmosphere inside the Ministry of Education is against the soul and philosophy of the Arab Spring and the recent constitution.
In his speech, the Minister surprised me, personally, as he surprised many other teachers. I was so offended by the way the man talks about teachers, Ministry employees and academy heads. I was offended by the sarcasm he used to mock the female teacher who was talking to him and the message of truth she gave him. He said that he would get rid of a delegate of the city of Ouejda if the man didn’t apply the directive. He said it would be his “last day as a delegate” and his “doomsday.” It is shameful to talk with such disdain and disrespect about delegates who are working night and day on the ground and who represent the Minister and the Ministry.
The language that the El Wafaa was using has nothing to do with teaching, education, pedagogy or even politics. The man was making fun of things, like a clown, which should make us cry. Even lazy students and illiterate people have vision when they talk about the educational system. My mother, who has never been to school, talks with respect about teachers and understands the huge problems they encounter when they work, especially in remote areas such as the deep South of Morocco.
I challenge the Minster to come to Smara or Laayoune and visit the schools. Talk to parents and teachers and see how many sacrifices the men and women of education in those regions are making. They need uniforms and guards like our soldiers on the borders. I have never seen a military general talking this badly about his soldiers or a Minister of the Interior speaking with such disdain for his police officers in public. He has insulted us as teachers and educators. I am sorry sir, we cannot win the war against corruption and ignorance this way. You should reread and revise your notion of leadership.
Don’t think that we are stupid, dear Minister, and that we have come to teaching for the spoils. We have come to education because we believe in our mission and we are doing our best to do what we can with what we have. Surely, we are not all angels the same way that all ministers and governors and humans are not. There are good and bad people everywhere and in every field. But, believing that one bad fish defames the picture of all teachers is totally wrong.
We deserve some respect, sir. Our delegates and heads of the academies deserve that same respect. Do not try to make fun of us and to control our thoughts and kill the seeds of our freedom as individuals, unions and citizens. We know the dirt of our home, and it is better to involve everyone to clean what can be cleaned and to save what can be saved. Otherwise, we will kill this project of reform before it is born. Let’s show deeds not words.
Edited by Ryan McAllister
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