By Rachid Ait Oumaiz
Agadir, Morocco – For several years now, the Moroccan baccalaureate exam has been considered to be the most important exam in the country. This is for different reasons among which is the image that media attributes to the exam. Students from different high schools all over Morocco take the same exam that is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.
The exam lasts for three days and constitutes 50 percent of the overall grade students need in order to obtain their baccalaureate degrees. In this paper, I will focus on the challenges and opportunities that the baccalaureate exam creates either for students or for the other actors (teachers, administration, delegations, regional academies, and the Ministry of Education in general).
The Moroccan baccalaureate exam imposes many challenges on students, teachers, and the Ministry of Education. As for students, they have to study the whole program they have been taught during the whole year. The program includes four or five subjects depending on the specialty students have chosen. Teachers also have to ‘hit two birds with one stone’. That is to say, at first they should supervise students so as not to cheat during the exam. Second, some teachers will be asked to correct the exam sheets.
These two operations are too demanding for teachers because some unexpected problems may arise. Apart from these things, the Ministry of Education is also concerned with the organizational matters accompanying the baccalaureate exam process. This means that the Ministry of Education has to show professionalism before, while and after the date of the exam. Regardless of all the challenges that the baccalaureate exam creates, are there any opportunities the exam can bring to the community at large?
We cannot ignore the opportunities that the baccalaureate exam offers Moroccan students and their families. It is obvious that it helps students to access higher education. This access takes two quite contradictory forms: the first form is attending public universities that are open to all baccalaureate degree holders regardless of their grades. The second access is limited to excellent students who take entry exam to schools of engineering, journalism, medicine, and other disciplines.
Aside from these two forms, there are large numbers of students who resort to vocational training schools that are scattered in the different regions of the country. It is generally believed that once students get their baccalaureate degrees, they relieve the burden that is put on their families. They get a diploma that paves their roads to success and a better future though nobody guarantees whether their hopeful dreams will come true. In general, the baccalaureate degree opens many doors to students and it’s up to them to select what suits their skills and talents.
As mentioned previously, the baccalaureate exam remains one of the standard ways of assessment that Moroccan students go through. It is also crystal clear that we are all involved in the success or in the failure of the exam. We really should understand that the baccalaureate exam concerns the future of our students and community. Thus, we shouldn’t underestimate the real value that the baccalaureate degree has had over the years. The challenge that we are facing now is how to develop the baccalaureate exam without affecting the reputation that this national degree has not only in Morocco, but also worldwide.