By Latifa Elogri
By Latifa Elogri
Fez – Education has always been among the most significant issues in Morocco given that it plays a decisive role in the country’s future. Today, however, a new problem confronts teacher trainees, who have been in a daily struggle since the beginning of the current year. Thousands of them are expected to come to Rabat today to stage a protest in front of the Parliament.
Teacher trainees in all regional centres of Morocco have decided to put an end to the new governmental decision concerning teaching. On September 2015, the government launched and signed a decision based upon two principal points. First, after taking the written and oral exams, teacher trainees will get training positions rather than teaching jobs and will then have to pass a second exam. Second, their scholarships will be reduced from MAD 2000 to MAD 1200 per month.
In over six weeks of protesting, the trainees have been calling for the repeal of the second exam; instead, they call for the integration of all trainees into the job market. According to the trainees, passing both written and oral examinations makes them qualified to be teachers, and what they need is only the pedagogical internship that each trainee takes during the year. For them, there is no need for the second exam at the end of the training year.
When interviewed about the issues, students from different regions enthusiastically explained their struggle and their requirements. A male English teacher trainee from El Jadida stated, “We do not agree with the narcissistic governmental decision which wants to exclude some teachers from the public sector and instead integrate them in the private schools… This process will be repeated throughout the years until they achieve their goal, which is privatizing education and schools.”
The daily struggle of trainees and the cooperation that is solidifying among them day after day make them more willing to convey their voices to the authorities. The trainee from El Jadida further argues that, “Some would say that we ought to be responsible and accept the governmental decision since we agreed to be teaching candidates even though we had previously read it. In fact, we did not really accept the governmental decision. However, the reason behind ‘accepting’ that decision is to meet collaboratively in the teaching centres and, therefore, have a stronger voice that would weaken the Moroccan president, Benkiran. As such, the president would be compelled to revise his latest decision as regards teaching jobs.”
Meanwhile, a female French teacher trainee from Tangier states, “We were unable to protest previously because we were not teacher trainees yet. Now that we are teacher trainees, we believe that we have the right to speak about the future of teaching.” When she was asked whether there is hope for winning over the government, she said that the latter threatens to cancel their admission to the teacher training centres.
The protest that started on November 12 in Rabat was an assemblage of groups from all pedagogical centres of Morocco. Around 9,000 teacher trainees went to Rabat to make their voices heard by peacefully protesting in front of the Moroccan parliament. The trainees made use of many slogans, articulating their rejection of the new governmental decree.
Since Wednesday, December 2, teacher trainees adopted a new strategy to intensify and maximise their protest. In response to Benkiran’s provocation that “the trainees who will fail the examination would better sell eggs,” they peacefully carried plates of eggs around the city streets. However, this protest was interrupted and repressed by the police, which was documented by social media.
Despite this, the teacher trainees seem to be persistent. As one of them says, “we are resistant to the violence until we reach our goal. In fact, we have become used to being repressed and battered by the police forces whenever we defend our rights.” Pictures, publications and comments on social media demonstrate that the teacher trainees have a strong desire to win over the government. The struggle will continue until they realize their objective, which is to repeal the government decision as regards the teacher trainees’ integration into the job market.
Edited by Issmeil Elyahyaoui and Esther Bedik
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