By Omar Bihmidine
By Omar Bihmidine
Morocco World News
Sidi Ifni, Morocco, December 19, 2012
As I was recently navigating the US embassy website, I came across information related to the US Access programs launched in 2009 in order to help underprivileged talented 14- and 15-year olds from disadvantaged sectors improve their English with after-school classes.
In this program, the beneficiary students have access to small, interactive English classes where they are taught in an American style.
Yet, what drew my attention most was the fact that these beneficiary talented students must come from disadvantaged families. However, I have been to many places, such as Zagora and Tiznit, but I did not notice that this criterion has been respected to the letter. Not abiding by this criterion can culminate in several undesired results.
No one would say yes to preventing children of well-off families from benefiting from this program. But, since the number of the Access beneficiary talented students is so limited, the criterion of belonging to disadvantaged families must be respected without any excuse.
It is beyond poor families’ means to offer their children extra hours in Morocco. And this opportunity of Access programs where the poor children can improve their English has been confiscated by the well-off children born to teachers, doctors, and other state functionaries. It is true many poor talented students have benefited from Access, but they should actually be the only beneficiaries.
Some may intervene and say that it is up to poor families to send their children to submit their applications for Access. If they do not come, then those born to well-off families must be enrolled in their place. Yet, as we all know, Access program news spread faster among the advantaged families than among the disadvantaged. Many poor talented students have not been informed about the programs. It is a fact that can also call into question the means of the announcement.
At this point, we are not necessarily blaming Access teachers, for they may not be concerned with this. Blameworthy are only those functionaries who accepted to register advantaged talented students without meeting the criterion of ‘being born to disadvantaged families’.
One thing we must all bear in mind is that there are so many poor talented students who are still waiting for this priceless initiative, but they have either been kept in the dark or forgotten owing to their disadvantaged origins.