Fez - After Mr Rachid Belmokhtar was appointed Minister of National Education and Vocational Training we sighed in relief, thinking the burden we have been carrying would be finally off our shoulders. The saviour had come to put the train back on its track after years of deviation and snail’s pace travel in the age of speed and high-tech. We thought the right man was finally placed in the right position since his profile is bulky with educational credentials and achievements.
Fez – After Mr Rachid Belmokhtar was appointed Minister of National Education and Vocational Training we sighed in relief, thinking the burden we have been carrying would be finally off our shoulders. The saviour had come to put the train back on its track after years of deviation and snail’s pace travel in the age of speed and high-tech. We thought the right man was finally placed in the right position since his profile is bulky with educational credentials and achievements.
The bright hopeful thoughts of less crowded, clean and well equipped classrooms, smart and well disciplined pupils, transparent and collaborative officials, and ambitious and implementable educational policy started twinkling in my mind. What had saddened me as an educator, like having my wings cut, my thoughts banned, my freedom restricted, and my mission blocked would no more be a worry for me, or so I thought!
Time elapsed quickly. I waited, like thousands of teachers across Morocco, for decisions that would be clearly and tangibly translated in the field of our daily practice; the classroom and the school! I and my likes who were doomed to teach where teaching had seemed of very little priority, awaited decisions that would bring us back the moral and financial status we cherished before. We wanted decisions that would make us proud to be Moroccan teachers not decision that would fill us with frustration and despair!
To our dismay, all we got were baggy empty slogans to consume and survive on, forlorn hopes with no substance! The one on whom we placed high hopes disillusioned us and instead of promoting the Moroccan school, added bigger insult to all our previous injuries! More specifically, the recent statement of the minister that teachers are unqualified and that they are mere tale-tellers was outrageous!
I was tolerant so far and restrained myself from commenting on what’s going on and decided to focus on my work! But I could stay quiet no more after this completely irresponsible and unwise, starkly generalized statement by the minister against tens of thousands of teachers, many of whom sacrifice their lives and personal comfort to teach students in far-off places with little or no means at all!
I have been deeply hurt by the ingratitude of the minister’s statement because I have never had the intentions of cheating on my duties towards the students I teach simply because I identify and empathize with them and care about their futures. I was once exactly like them somewhere in the peripheral Morocco sitting on the same dilapidated table in a similar dusty chaotic classroom! So how could I dare betray them?
Launching this statement, the Minister is condemning himself and his ministry! If there are unqualified teachers among us, it is not our fault that the system recruited them nor are we to blame for systemic corruption and nepotism. If there are unqualified teachers spoiling our children at schools, the training and hiring policies are the problem. And if there are bad teachers at work in the system, it is the ministry that lacks a clear strategy for teacher evaluation and supervision.
I refer the Minister to at least one strategy that business and communication experts recommend because it always leads to better results at work- recognition and encouragement! This strategy seems to be in line with the King’s vision as evidenced by one of his speeches. I was deeply thrilled to hear our King addressing teachers in Morocco and praising them for their noble mission! If I were in your shoes, I would learn from my King first.
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