By Khalil Zakari
By Khalil Zakari
Meknes – The Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program is an educational program which seeks to improve mutual understanding among teachers, their schools and communities in the U.S. and abroad through two programs – the Fulbright Classroom Teacher Exchange Program and the Distinguished Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program.
This latter started when the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States of America signed a cultural agreement to increase the recipients of these early Fulbright grants which included eminent Moroccan government officials, as well as leading intellectuals, university administrators, and writers of both nationalities. With regard to the outstanding results which culminated from this bilateral cultural and educational exchange between Morocco and the USA, a provisional commission on educational and cultural exchange was established in 1980, namely the Moroccan American Commission for Cultural and Educational Exchange (MACECE).
The program provides U.S. teachers with the opportunity to study in an overseas research center or university and work within local schools in the host country. Applicants should propose a capstone project at the time of application that should enhance their learning and have practical applications to their teaching.
The Fulbright Awards in Teaching Program sends teachers from selected countries namely Morocco to the United States for a semester to pursue individual projects, conduct research, and lead master classes or seminars. The program is considered one of the most prestigious awards programs worldwide through the exchange of persons, knowledge, and skills.
The selection process happens as follows:
1. MACECE notifies the Ministry of National Education (MEN) which sends an informative circular to the Moroccan public schools to invite teachers to apply for the program.
2. MEN pre-selects qualified teachers on the basis of their academic training and educational experience.
3. The selectees are suggested to MACECE, which administers an interview to choose the potential candidates. The interview board consists of MECECE and MEN representatives.
4. After a pre-selection by MACECE, candidates’ dossiers are sent to the 12-member J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board (FSB) appointed by the President of the United States, established by Congress to supervise the global Fulbright Program as authorized by the Fulbright-Hays Act of 1961.
5. The FSB screens the final candidates.
6. The grantees are placed at the University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA to carry out research for the fall semester.
This year two other Moroccan EFL teachers have had this privilege, namely Mounaim Saad (an EFL teacher, Lycéed’Excellence) from Taza and Mr. TarikBoussetta (an EFL teacher, LycéeSidiAzouz) from Taza too.
This year two Moroccan representatives, Mounaim Saad EFL teacher from Lycéed’Excellence and Tarik Boussetta EFL teacher, Lycée Sidi Azouz were selected from Taza delegation. A week ago they successfully completed all activities related to their selection as Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching International Teachers of English at the University of Maryland for the fall semester from August – December, 2012. Their capstone projects were “Connecting Classes, ICT Web Tools and Cross-Cultural Understanding”, mentored by Dr. Helene K. Cohen and “Edline as a Learning Management System: Teacher, Student, and Parent Perceptions at Springbrook High School” mentored by Dr. Jandelyn Plane respectively.