Marrakech - Creativity is so important for modern citizens especially in the 21st century when a citizen can maintain a quality life style only if she/he succeeds to adapt her/his educational and professional performance to a rapidly changing technological, industrial, scientific and socio-economic environment.
Marrakech – Creativity is so important for modern citizens especially in the 21st century when a citizen can maintain a quality life style only if she/he succeeds to adapt her/his educational and professional performance to a rapidly changing technological, industrial, scientific and socio-economic environment.
In this essay, I will try to answer two questions:
1- What are the indicators by which we detect Morocco’s need for creativity-supporting educational policies?
2- What is the Moroccan official stance on the existence of this need?
I- The indicators by which we detect Morocco’s need for creativity-supporting educational policies
The UIS database does not provide us with any direct, relevant information about the position of the culture of creativity and innovation in Morocco. However, other indicators of this culture can be derived from the data which is available to us and which concerns the relationship between education and some other aspects of society such as employment and investment in R and D.
The First Indicator Is Quantitative
This indicator has to do with the comparison between the number of students graduating from upper education and the number of senior executive positions generated every year. While there is an increasing number of senior executives in Morocco (an aggregate annual management jobs in the order of 41 000), it is estimated that the number of young people leaving the upper level is about 117 000, of whom approximately 73 000 could be active, a number almost two times higher than the number of managerial jobs available.
This means that the number of upper education graduates is increasing much more rapidly than the senior executive positions do. Putting aside a number of potential explanatory factors (such as inaccessibility to the resources required to launch a startup), we take this to partly reflect two realities:
– The reality that the profiles produced by Moroccan high education are not attractive for companies, which are typically interested in hiring individuals who can raise their profits.
– The reality that these profiles fail to launch successful startups where they can make use of what they learned in their studies.
Morocco needs a creativity-supporting education because it promises to contribute quite substantially to the students’ adaptability to the market’s needs.
The Second Indicator Is Qualitative
According to the “Trends in Mathematics and Science Study” (TIMSS, 2007), Morocco’s performance (average achievement score of 345) is lower than the average for the overall sample of comparator countries considered (374 countries), and the country’s deficit is even substantially more pronounced if the assessment does not include sub-Saharan countries for which performance measurement is based on potentially less robust estimates (average score of 412).
This problem cannot be explained in terms of Morocco’s public expenditure on education, which accounts for 6.3% of Morocco’s GDP in 2010. From an international comparative perspective, public spending on education is much higher in Morocco than in other countries. For instance, in other countries whose per capita GDP is between USD 1,000 and USD 10,000, public spending on education accounts for only 4.4% of GDP.
We take this to reflect at least two realities:
1- That the teaching methods are not creative enough to motivate students to learn.
2- That decision makers and many teachers have failed to come up with creative solutions to the learning problem in Morocco.
The Moroccan school is, therefore, in need of a creativity-supporting education to both make teaching methods more creative and foster the teachers’ creative capacities to develop more efficient solutions for class-related learning problems.
The third indicator is based on comparing the gap between what Morocco spends on education and what it spends on research and development. There exists a remarkable gap between Morocco’s expenditure on education and its expenditure on R and D compared to the difference between the two expenditures in developed countries like Japan and Sweden as the following chart summarizes.
We take this remarkable difference to indicate that decision makers are hesitant to risk investing money in R and D probably because the field is not as productive as decision makers wish it to be. A creativity-supporting education promises to contribute substantially to empowering students with the qualities they need (such as curiosity, problem solving mindset, pattern-recognition capacities, etc.) to cultivate their capacity to produce, rather than just consume, knowledge.
A fourth indicator of creativity is the number of patents filed in the country. In 2006, the number of patents that were filed in Morocco was 910, more than 80% of which were filed by non-residents. When better conditions of creative research are offered, Moroccans file more patents. According to one research, 876 patent applications published under the PCT have been filed by MLA (Moroccans living abroad) inventors at international locations in the 16 years from 1995 through 2011. This large number of Moroccans filing for patents abroad illustrates the important role that research laboratories in developed countries play in stimulating creativity and invention among Moroccan scientists abroad, which again highlights the need for a creativity-supporting education in Morocco.
II- the Moroccan official stance on the need for a creativity-supportive education policy
In his inauguration speech of the first Parliamentary cycle of the legislative year 2007-2008, the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, addressed the newly elected MPs inviting the government yet to be formed to develop an urgent plan to cope with what the king called “the real problems” of the Moroccan educational system, which he described as “ the vital sector”.
To launch “the Urgent Plan” (UP) that the king called for, the government relied on the findings of a report which the Supreme Council of Education published in 2008. The essential principle of the UP is to develop a learner-based educational system where all resources are administered to support the learner. The functional objectives of the UP are to be defined in four “reform domains”, namely:
- To put into operation the compulsory character of education up to the age of 15,
- To motivate the spirit of the initiative and excellence in secondary schools and the university
- To deal with the horizontal problems of the educational system and
- To offer the means of success
Unfortunately, nowhere in the UP and the king’s speech is the word creativity mentioned, which is an indication that official decision makers are probably unaware of the need for a creativity-supportive education.
How about the 2011-constitution? The new Moroccan constitution supports the right for education but does not talk about the right of the learner to enjoy an educational system which fosters creativity and offers the conditions under which creativity values would be encouraged. Article 31 of the constitution entails that “the state, public institutions and territorial collectivities shall work to mobilize all the means available to facilitate a legal access for citizens (females and males) to the conditions enabling them to enjoy their right to … a modern, accessible and quality education… to professional training and physical and artistic education.” The term “quality education” is promising but nothing is said about whether or not creativity standards are a part of its definition.
Although it is clearly mentioned in the National Charter of Education and Training, on which Moroccan educational policies are based, that the Moroccan educational system shall maintain the religious and national values of Morocco, that it will support the use of national and international languages and that it will be used to master sciences and advanced technologies and contribute to their progress to increase the competitively of Morocco in an open world, nothing is explicitly said in it about fostering Creativity and Innovation by infusing a Creativity Culture.
The one official text that explicitly calls for the necessity of cultivating creativity culture in education is the speech of the king delivered in August the 30th, 2013 which bitterly criticized the situation of education in Morocco and specified three types of problems in it: the problem of professional profiles, the problem of languages and the problem of the quality of education. The two Arabic words meaning creativity (ibtikaar and ibdaa3) are both invoked in three contexts in this speech and a clear call for allowing the youth to enjoy opportunities to be creative is made.
A creativity-supporting education is an urgent need in Morocco, and any reform agenda that does not seek to satisfy this need would eventually reproduce the same substantial inadequacies that the Moroccan educational system has always been suffering from in its recent history.