By Rachid Khouya
By Rachid Khouya
Morocco World News
Smara, Morocco, October 13, 2012
Inhabitants of the village of Toutlin, near Gulmim in southern Morocco are preventing their children from attending public school and instead sending them to study in the local mosque.
The principle reasons were a lack of teachers, the futility of the educational system, multi-level classrooms with only one teacher and, above all, the indifference of the Ministry of Education.
The decision is being seen by many people as a first, an attempt to entomb the public school and to take Morocco and Moroccans backward. However, according to some sources from the village, “this decision comes after years of empty promises and waiting in vain for the smallest signs of change to take place.” They said that “the feeling of indifference and closing of eyes and ears on the part of the Ministry of Education is going to give birth to more aggressive and fundamentalist reactions from the side of the people.”
Parents think their students learn nothing from the school as the conditions do not permit teachers to teach or learners to learn. Despite the promises of the current government and Minister of Education, the people of Toutlin find themselves forced to keep their students from going to primary school. For them, it is like a “local prison cell” for their kids. “It is better to learn the Koran than to learn nothing at all” said one father. He went on, asking, “How can a teacher teach two levels of students at the same time? How can small students learn in this noneducational atmosphere?”
This has been described by many people as a slap in the face of the new government and its Minister of Education. Against all the speeches and the good intentions of reviving the reputation of Moroccan public schools, here is a good example and a good response on the part of a marginalized village in the South of Morocco. Here is a collective “NO” to the continuing marginalization and indifference.
In my opinion, changing Moroccan schools will never happen as a result of good intentions or dogmatic speeches alone. Real initiatives have to take place to stop this collective exodus from other public schools. It will require actually answering people’s needs and questions, not just listening to them by telephone and with the Minister’s meaningless appearances in videos.