By Hajar Slaoui
By Hajar Slaoui
Fez – The popularity of reading has declined in Morocco, signaling a deeply troubling cultural crisis for the kingdom. Many factors have lead to this crisis, but the only known fact is that despite the historical value given to reading by the most important writers and intellectuals, both local and international, the popularity of reading in Morocco has taken a deep plunge.
Curious to uncover the contributing factors to this decline in reading rates, we spoke to several professionals and students concerning the topic. The real opinions of Moroccan citizens, especially the youth, are quite varied.
Decline in Reading
Houda, the head of a Moroccan library and witness to the rapid decline of reading, tells us, “cars kills the sense to walk in us, mobile phones take away any necessity for meeting face to face, fast food beats the kitchen and its rituals, and the Internet demolishes the good practice of reading.”
A Walk through Various Libraries
After a long walk through multiple public libraries, the librarians explained to us that the low level of reading may be due to the limited number of books and the inability to renew books and documents. These factors result in a general dissatisfaction from readers, as well as the people in charge of the libraries, such as Mrs. Hafida.
With emotion in her voice, Mrs. Hafida makes a nostalgic remark about the past: “It is rough to remember that one day we prepared the area hours before the opening of the library for a busy day full of eager readers at every table. Now, it all looks quite empty.”
Insight from the Business School of Management and the Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences
Kenza, a student at the National College of Business and Management, told us that the main cause of the decline in numbers of students who read regularly rmay be pinpointed to the rapid development of technology. This development also leads to a reading competence decline on a larger level, affecting several Moroccan cities, with less students reading translating into fewer libraries, with an impact seen in course curriculums.
Jihad, another student, told us that reading material became “rare currency” and less valuable amongst young people due to the absence of an early childhood education rooted in reading.
The Perspective of the Educated
Zoubir Ben Bouchta, an intellectual and drama director, declared that the crisis of reading affects a much larger group than just a few citizens or students. Even highly educated people are affected by the crisis, especially those who work in education and cultural fields. The Moroccan population as a whole does not read. This is due to several factors, such as the fact that the Arab educational systems are modest in cultural programs. Bouchta’s real dissatisfaction comes with the lack of libraries, as he believes this is the first space where a child may discover the pleasure of reading as a whole.
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