By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, December 10, 2012
Nobody can deny that education is indispensable for any country to move forward. We unanimously agree that without education, we can never dream of a better Morocco where our teachers continue to light the way for students. However, most distressing of all nowadays is that our educational system is fraught with contradictions from all sides. In reality, contradictions can fit anywhere except the education field.
As long as the value of education is universally inestimable, contradictions must be dispelled for the sake of education’s survival. Otherwise, our schools will be in disarray and our education system as a whole will sooner or later lie on its deathbed. Likewise, teachers and students, for their part, will be in the face of a never-ending labyrinth.
UNESCO reports never lie. Recently, they classified Morocco’s education as the most deplorable in the world. In earnest, contradictions, among other things, must be behind this remarkable retardation. Even though our education ministers, researchers and senior officials stress that education must be quality-based, they cannot usually escape the trap of quantity to fill the void – shortage of teachers- at all costs.
In fact, there have been many times when the Ministry of Education has resorted to condition-free recruitment to provide schools with an ample number of teachers. Meanwhile, the Ministry fails to offer solid training for the newly-recruited teachers. In this respect, what is totally contradictory is that the quality-based Moroccan education specialists, that had been always called for and praised, has unfortunately changed into quantity-based education.
Education researchers always stress that motivation is conducive to good education. Also, motivation is contagious in that if teachers are motivated to teach, students, for their part, become motivated to learn. At a time when several ministers of education are aware that motivation can work miracles in the field, they usually disappoint teachers by the irresponsible decisions they sometimes make. For instance, how can teachers be motivated when the Ministry itself prevents them from pursuing their studies and furthering their careers?
How can teachers be motivated when the policy still adopted by the Ministry is “overworked and underpaid”? How can teachers be motivated when they are denied the inalienable right of promotion with their well-deserved diplomas? How can teachers be motivated when they are appointed to remote places of work without any additional compensation?
Our education officials are good at preaching about motivation, but they forget that they still de-motivate teachers. This is sheer a contradiction, if not hypocrisy, too.
From 2009 to 2012, the education ministry, along with teachers, was quite hopeful about the “Emergency Plan” that was initiated to resolve the education crisis. Yet, no sooner had Mohamed El Ouafa been elected minister of education than he annulled several pedagogies and implicitly admitted the failure of the ‘plan’. The Emergency Plan that was once hailed as a prospective success has now turned into a fiasco. What was adopted two years ago has now been annulled, not on the basis of shoddiness, but rather on the basis of misuse.
For instance, the Pedagogy of Integration that was once deemed as the savior last year is now, for the new minister, the bane of education. While the previous minister adopted an approach to improving Morocco’s education, today’s minister is adopting a totally different approach, that of using his so-called sense of humor. Now, two ministers holding contradictory policies are in the face of the same calamitous education.
The same is true of teachers’ scales. There are many teachers with 25 teaching years but who have scale 10, while there are teachers with only one year of teaching experience but who have scale 11. It is true that diplomas determine scale ranking. But, does it make sense that teachers with scale 9 have taught students who later in their lives became teachers with a higher scale than that of their ex-teachers?
At a time when teachers must be paid for the job they do in class, it appears that they are paid for what they have in mind, not for what they accomplish. Just think of promotion professional tests that assess how much teachers know about their specialty, not how diligent they are in their teaching careers. Isn’t this contradictory, too?
Now that the education system in Morocco has proved a failure for the umpteenth time, it is high time people in authority dispelled as many contradictions as possible. In this manner, we will at least know what is amiss, what to work on, and how to put into practice our plans. Here, we are not necessarily giving ready-made recipes on how to put an end to the calamity. Simply enough, we are calling for the ‘abolition’ of the contradictions which all Moroccans deign and frown upon. As we all know, awareness of a certain predicament is half the solution. Enough of contradictions!