Kenitra - Morocco is in the throes of revolutionary educational change at a pivotal point in the nation’s history. With high market demand and an ever-increasing need for students to develop English language skills, the time to act is now. The government has toyed with the notion for a long time, but the need to provide the upcoming generation with a platform to improve the quality of education and access to further study has never been greater.
Kenitra – Morocco is in the throes of revolutionary educational change at a pivotal point in the nation’s history. With high market demand and an ever-increasing need for students to develop English language skills, the time to act is now. The government has toyed with the notion for a long time, but the need to provide the upcoming generation with a platform to improve the quality of education and access to further study has never been greater.
Quality teaching at both the primary and secondary levels is critical to lift the aspirations, ambitions, and goals of students, both at home and abroad with globalization and a smaller marketplace so apparent. Many countries have already started implementing educational changes in places such as Malaysia, Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai.
In the past, the teacher held a monopoly over knowledge in the classroom, dictating the general policy of lecturing and maintaining firm order. Today, with the rise of the Internet and related technology, the young generation is faced with an ever-increasing tsunami of information, with reportedly up to 5,000 new websites created daily on the world stage.
The youth of today must be allowed to become independent learners, critical thinkers, and multi-skilled self-motivators, developed by facilitators of learning and modern pedagogy. They must be taught at a fairly young age how to gather, analyze, decipher and, as my elderly mother of 90 years young would say, be able to sort “the wheat from the chaff.”
The classroom, as an institution for learning, has to change, not only in terms of its resourcing, but also more importantly in the delivery and learning of knowledge. It is time that teachers ‘per se’ are phased out, to be replaced by ‘facilitators of learning’, who equally partake in constant, regular professional development as lifelong learners. Teaching methodology needs to be updated with current pedagogy of fostering greater student-centered learning and co-operative learning structures. This is how modern education strategies impart the skills that will be increasingly required in the future. Without these, full benefit from this digital age would hamper the individual for life.
Morocco’s education system, akin most of the world, requires focus, and an overhaul is vital if we are to do justice to a generation hungry with great expectations as they see more than ever what lies beyond these shores.
Schools as institutions need to be at the heart of community development, with an emphasis on partnerships with stakeholders (aside from parents) to industry, government, and the wider society at large. Schools must become communicators of knowledge and learning, with all of society involved.
Many challenges lie ahead if Morocco is to equip its young generation with the skills and knowledge base to compete on a global stage. Three Moroccan schools recently adopted the British Council to adopt the UK national curriculum in English. Critics may say that this will only bring foreign specialists to Morocco for monetary gains, and they will leave after their short-term contracts expire.
Morocco expects more from these providers. Morocco’s education needs a complete overhaul, and the first step must be to realize at the highest level that passing the baby to the nanny is not the answer. The mother must take responsibility for her children. This means that rather than bringing in highly paid expatriates to reform education, Moroccan nationals need to be trained with the skills essential to reforming their own education system. Anything else is fudging the issue. Morocco has a vast educated body of English language speakers at its disposal, apart from a large number of Moroccans who, though they have left these shores, frequently return and even re-invest in second homes.
The government would do well to offer tax concessions to these highly focused and educated group to give something back to the mother nation. Programs for voluntary service come to mind.
At present, many an affluent parents have the added luxury of sending their children for a private education, a facility beyond the reach of the many working classes. If the state education changed its ways now, there would be no need for this, and education would reach everyone, and within the confines of the school eight hour day instead of beyond these hours.
The persisting problem in North Africa is high levels of unemployment. Around a quarter of those aged 15 to 25 are jobless. Many return from a fragile Europe, joined by immigrants from worse-off nations to a marketplace where they can compete more effectively with multi-skilled individuals.
The recent acceptance by the government to switch the second national language to English from French is a welcome sign that the government sees and is acting upon the need for change. What Morocco needs is not to bring in external providers who deliver, and, following their fat profits, disappear as fast as they came. Morocco needs providers who are prepared to foster and nurture the development of the state’s education system with a hands-on classroom, and empower Moroccan teachers to take on the mantle, leading the nation’s education system into the 21st century. ‘Moroccans for Morocco’ must be the theme. There is expertise, and the government would do well not to rely on contracts to former providers to effect changes as an easy option. English is the global language. English can be taught in many ways. Many an English speaking Moroccan must be able to join this movement to bring English forth as the nation’s number one language.
The future remains hazy unless the powers at be realize that English is best spoken and delivered by those that value and seek to embed sustainability into Morocco’s education system for years to come.
A brave and bold decision is, at this point, vital in the development of education in Morocco. Time will show if Morocco’s path into 21st century learning is by way of a prime example.
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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