Rabat - Moroccan youth mobilized in a public square in Rabat against the privatization of education in Morocco, opening a social dialogue under the slogan, ‘’we are students, not customers.’’ With privatization, education becomes a commodity like any other thing that you can buy and sell,’’ they say.
Rabat – Moroccan youth mobilized in a public square in Rabat against the privatization of education in Morocco, opening a social dialogue under the slogan, ‘’we are students, not customers.’’ With privatization, education becomes a commodity like any other thing that you can buy and sell,’’ they say.
On Tuesday evening, twenty students stood in a public square, near the Moroccan Parliament in Rabat, asking passerby to join their social dialogue on the increasing commercialization and privatization of public education.
In a few minutes, dozens of Moroccan students, pupils, teachers, parents and employees liked the idea, and joined the debate due to the importance of the subject.
Education is Not for Sale
‘’I am against the privatization of education, since it is not logical to pay in order to get information. Education is not for sale,’’ says Suleiman El Miri, 19, a first year student at the faculty of political science in the Mohamed V University of Rabat.
Suleiman was a member of the the Student Union for Change of the Educational System UECSE who voiced his opinion warning, at the same time, that in terms of numbers, the privatization of education is rising in Morocco. ‘’Since 2000 the number of students in the private schools increased from 4% to 15%,’’ he says.
Amine, a classmate of Suleiman intervened to complete the idea of his friend, stressing that the government is not satisfied with this increase. ‘’They want to want to raise the number of students in private schools to 50%,’’ he says.
He goes on to add that if we continue this acceleration, only 70% of students will be enrolled in public schools by 2023, 48% by 2030, and the number will be reduced to 3% by 2038.
‘’This means that 97% of students will be obliged to study at private schools by 2038. And since private education in Morocco is quite expensive, many families won’t be able to send their children to schools by that time,’’ said Amine.
Which has Superior Quality, Public or Private Schools?
Hiba Kasmi is a 17-year-old student who studied at a private primary and secondary school, and now continues her studies at a public high school. She told MWN on the sideline of this event that neither public nor private schools are of superior quality relative to the other. ‘’Each of them has its own problems,’’ she says.
‘’On the one hand, private school students get high marks which they don’t deserve, and teachers are not respected by their students. In public schools, the education system is disastrous, and teachers are not competent, ‘’ she explained.
However, Aya Karim, 16, who studied at a private school for 10 years and now is a student at a public high school, believes that private schools are of superior quality compared to public schools. ‘’When I was in private school, teachers would review the lesson when I didn’t understand. In the public school, meanwhile, the teachers always refused to repeat the lesson once again,‘’ she says.
Aya goes as far as to wonder why she should pay money in order to understand the lesson. ‘’Teachers in the public sector ‘’have to understand that they are required to review the lesson until it’s understood, because this is their duty,’’ she concluded.
Wissal Cabbani, 16, a baccalaureate student at a private school says she is against private schools, ‘’since we shouldn’t have to pay for education.’’ ‘’Otherwise, only the rich elite would be educated and the poor won’t be able to go to school. In this case, the gap between the rich and the poor in Morocco will become even wider,’’ she explained.
Are Teachers Responsible for the Lack of Education Quality in Public Schools?
Multiple interventions in the social dialogue accused teachers of being responsible for the bad quality of education in the public sector. But teachers responded to these accusations with accusations to the Moroccan educational system, stating that ministry of education is to blame rather than teachers.
Karima, a 31-year-old primary school teacher in the countryside of Sale says that public education suffers from a lot of problems due to the failing educational system.
‘’In some rural areas, teachers don’t even have the basic tools to do their duty. Plus, the content of the subjects that we teach is useless, thus, I think the educational system needs an urgent reform,’’ she explains.
On the same note, Hicham Hiat, a 23-year-old English teacher in Tata, says that the teachers are good but they face many obstacles that prevent them from doing their duty. ‘’In my case, students in Tata were not interested in learning English. I tried to make them interested, and I succeeded. But the problem is that we suffer from the lack of basic tools for teaching. For instance, the administration couldn’t afford me a data show, so I had to buy it myself,” he points out.
Hicham, who has been teaching English for only two years, goes on to explain that people should not generalize that teachers are not good. ‘’I know teachers in the country side of Tata who are very good and they are doing their best. But, the problem is within the people’s mentality,’’ he explains. ‘’They have lost trust in the teachers and in the Moroccan educational system as a whole’’ Hicham concluded.
This education initiative was taken by many individuals from Morocco who form the Student Union for Change of the Educational System (UECSE ), as a part of Global Week Action, launched worldwide from the 17th to the 22nd of November by International Student Movement.
The International Student Movement (ISM) is a platform consisting of many individuals and groups from different parts of the world. A group of students associated with the ISM came together during a series of chat meetings and decided to call for coordinated action worldwide.
Hamza Mala, 22, a member of UECSE , estimated the number of participants in the event at more than 100 people. He told MWN that UECSE ‘’is not linked to any political movement or party.’’ ‘’UECSE is union that consists of young students who believe that education is a legitimate human right, and that it should not be offered for sale. We are struggling for a free quality education,’’ Hamza claims.
Photo credit: UECSE
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