Fez - The Moroccan Department of Education in Morocco set the 2014-2015 education program schedules specifying September 10 and 11 to be the actual start of the school year for primary and secondary schools, respectively.
Fez – The Moroccan Department of Education in Morocco set the 2014-2015 education program schedules specifying September 10 and 11 to be the actual start of the school year for primary and secondary schools, respectively.
However, classes didn’t really begin until October 13, as class attendance reached its peak. This evident discrepancy between official statements and actual proceedings is common in the start of the Moroccan school year, though it was greater this year.
The Moroccan general census and Eid al-Adha have both delayed the commencement of studies in public schools, causing students to lose hundreds of study hours. A large number of teachers helped in the counting of Morocco’s inhabitants. Nevertheless, neither the census nor the religious celebration are the actual reason for the late start.
In reality, it became customary that students do not show interest in starting the new year on time for a variety of reasons such as psychological demotivation, irresponsibility, and lack of administrative rigor and punishment measures.
On a different note, teachers and students expect novelties in the new program every year, especially in the light of the increasingly serious discussions about reform.
However, it seems that the Ministry of Education and the government are still confused about the way to manage this reform and the way to start an inclusive restoration of the educational system in response to the wide public demands. Teachers’ demands for the improvement of their working conditions remain unmet, and in fact took turn to the worse recently.
Rachid Belmokhtar, the appointed Minister of the Education , publicly attributed the dismal situation of education to the teachers accusing them of unjustified absence and laziness. In response, he took measures to slow their promotions, ban them from pursuing higher education, and even prevent them from taking exams to change teaching cycles.
Overall, the new school year bears no good news for practitioners or students. Official routine postulates school councils and administration close the school year with inclusive reports evaluating the program execution and educational environment and suggesting recommendations for the next year concerning pedagogical materials, human resources, program organization, and so on, to hopefully guarantee better practice and satisfactory results.
However, teachers find the situation unchanged and even worse after the lengthy summer holiday, which discourages them from contributing to the discussion on the school practice or offering useful insights.
The 2014-2015 school year bears a resemblance to previous years, bringing back old, persistent problems: uninspiring working conditions, large classes, insufficient human resources, a lack of teaching and learning materials, and many more.
The demand for classes, materials, teachers, and so on far outstrips the government’s supply. This undesirable situation will eventually lead to low achievement for Moroccan education in general, and perpetuates a vicious circle of failure.
Among the most recent unprecedented government decisions against state employees is the gradual raising of retirement age to eventually reach 65, which runs against workers’ aspiration to take early retirement and enjoy their pension for a couple of years before passing away. The government says that unless this decision is made, the national pension fund will reach total bankruptcy by the year 2022.
In the light of this situation, education employees seem to have lost trust in trade unions, since they have demonstrated little or no will to defend employees’ rights to promotion and retirement. Social dialogues between the Ministry of Education and trade unions – presumably representative of weary teaching staff – have occasionally occurred but were not productive, while employees were hoping for a satisfactory outcome. Despite promises to defend teachers’ rights against the government’s unjust decisions, trade unions have given up their allegiance to employees while still chanting the same slogans of social militancy.
The royal speech opening the parliamentary autumn session on October 10 prompted a heated official debate on the quality of Moroccan public schooling. The monarch’s discourse to the MPs on the topic of stirred the old question of educational reform and instructional language.
The king’s speech recalled previous speeches by predominantly addressing education reform during the last twelve months, since his message on August 20, 2013. The king has initiated the creation of The Higher Council for Education, appointed a new Minister in charge, asked to review the language of instruction, and demanded a new diagnosis of the education system to find its major deficiencies.
The King’s instructions have to yield desired outcomes after decades of wrecked education. Otherwise, they remain hollow promises and continue to produce generations of depressed, incompetent graduates. King Mohammed’s speech to the members of the parliament reminded them that education is a central issue for Moroccans. Right after this speech, a fight broke out between two Moroccan MPs inside the house of the parliament, which dramatically shows the extent to which they are obsessed with national issues.
In sum, there has been much talk on the issue of Moroccan education. Students, as well as teachers, are in a dire need for exciting education environments to avoid lethargy, dropouts, and indifference. Until our policymakers, teachers, students, and all other stakeholders assume their shared responsibilities for the situation and take necessary measures to restore it, our education remains in the intensive care.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy
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