By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, October 5, 2012
First and foremost, education is a field where hiring committees must not play with fire when interviewees are before them. Education is a field where only the competent must be entitled to land a job in the teaching profession. Education is a field where graduates must be tested over and over again before becoming teachers. Education is a field where graduates must be granted equal opportunities. Education is the field where we choose the cream of graduates to hold the noblest profession ever.
Yet, to our utter consternation, the Moroccan Ministry of Education has made grave, unforgivable mistakes when it ushers into the education profession any graduates, irrespective of whether they pass entrance exams or not, whether they are competent or not, and whether they receive pedagogical training or not. Stating it frankly and bluntly, condition-free recruitment, which has characterized the policy of our Ministry of Education for decades, has been a tragic blow to the quality of education in Morocco and to our educational system at large.
The history of the education ministry still testifies to the three intakes of unemployed graduates under the name of ” Al 3aradiyin”. Each intake consisted of at least 3000 newly-hired teachers. And the intakes took place from 1998 to 2001. All of these unemployed graduates sought work at the time, and because of pressure, the ministry felt compelled to temporarily recruit them. From that time onwards, their strikes ensued until they were legally integrated into the teaching profession. By delving into the criteria by which they became what they are today, we find that they did not sit for any exam, that they did not get any training, and that they earned their diplomas with an average mark.
It is true that they are all B.A. holders. But, what happened later was alarming. Nearly all these teachers were first appointed as primary school teachers, and they found themselves obliged to teach subjects that had nothing to do with their original specialty. For example, graduates who majored in Islamic studies at university were appointed to teach French and mathematics at primary schools along with other subjects. Physics graduates, for their part, were appointed to teach Islamic education and Arabic about which they had not the slightest idea. How can we expect a revolver to fire if it is not loaded properly loaded? How could we ever expect such teachers to teach their students well if they themselves had not mastered what they have to teach?
Subsequently, a larger number of primary school students did not learn any basics of French simply because their teacher’s specialty was Islamic studies. A large number of students did not gain any math skills whatsoever simply because their teacher taught them everything except mathematics which he or she themmself did not master. What was the students’ crime so as not to be granted full education? Were not students the only victims of the unwise decisions of the ministry of education? An Islamic education teacher himself told us his colleagues that he did not teach his students French and mathematics due to his insufficient expertise in these subjects. So, his students didn’t master any basics in these subjects throughout their primary school days.
Some of us may intervene and say that such students are only a few exceptions. In response, let us count the beneficiary graduates of the three intakes dating back to 1998-2001. At least 9000 graduates were recruited as primary school teachers with no exams and training. Each teacher was given at least 110 students to teach. 110 multiplied by 9000 equals nearly one million victims. More shocking is the fact that these teachers would teach at primary schools for at least four years. How many victimized students were taught by such teachers, then? Countless!
Nobody can deny that the Ministry of Education alleviates the burden of unemployment by employing these graduates. But, it is not common sense to solve the predicament of unemployment at the expense of millions of innocent students, our future generations. Free-condition recruitment is the policy previous Moroccan governments have followed for ulterior motives. At this moment, we are paying the price. Millions of students have paid the price for not being taught well. Of course, the beneficiaries of free-condition recruitment are not the only ones to blame. We must also put the blame on the Moroccan government for letting free-condition recruitment be a tragic, unforgivable and unforgettable blow to the Moroccan educational system over many decades.
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