Tangier - Many teacher trainees from different training centers in Morocco have taken to the streets, calling for the annulment of two decrees issued last summer. The first decree stipulates that training be separated from recruitment, while the second reduces trainees’ grants by half.
Tangier – Many teacher trainees from different training centers in Morocco have taken to the streets, calling for the annulment of two decrees issued last summer. The first decree stipulates that training be separated from recruitment, while the second reduces trainees’ grants by half.
In response to the protests, Moroccan police have assaulted teacher trainees in an attempt to stifle their demands, in addition to applying a well-known government policy: that beatings should be the norm to scare away strikers. Meanwhile, the state is putting national education at stake as well as the future of many Moroccan students. The price will be paid sooner or later.
The trainees were spotted screaming, bleeding, and crying over their confiscated right to their well-deserved teaching profession. The manner in which teacher trainees are treated and the stultifying environment in which they are raised have led some to jeopardize the future of their students in retaliation for injustices they are suffering. I am afraid this will be true of this year’s groups of trainees.
Classrooms are currently full all over Morocco. Class size has become a pressing issue in the country due to the lack of teaching staff. If all the current teacher trainees go without training, none will be appointed next year. As a result, this will lead to larger class sizes than ever before. Studies have shown that one of the key stumbling blocks to quality learning is a large class size. Instead of solving the issue, the government wants to impose the implementation of the controversial decrees.
Studies show that the reputation of teachers in any society is one of the criteria by which quality of education is measured. Tarnishing the dignity of new trainees, beating them, and assaulting them in monstrous ways does not only damage the quality of education, but also gives other segments of society the impression that education is a low priority for Morocco. This is not to dramatize the issue, but simply a clear sign that the state is not serious about reforming education.
Great countries with successful education systems have long worked on building the teacher first as an agent of change, equipping them with the necessary training and providing them with opportunities to grow professionally and personally. Our government, on the other hand, continues to threaten these striking trainees and insists that there is no response to their demands on the horizon.
How about next year? Who will teach next year’s students? The government will be in dire need of teachers. Who will volunteer to teach students if teachers are not hired? Has the government prepared any citizens by assaulting strikers? I am referring to graduates who may have a spirit of volunteering and sacrifice for their country!
In earnest, let us not dramatize the cruelty and savagery with which teacher trainees were treated today. The state does not want a good education system in the first place. It is not ready to listen to people taking to the streets and calling for their rights. It is not ready to see Moroccan families heading to public schools, cheerful and optimistic about a high quality education for their children. It is not ready to fund the sector. It is as if the state is telling its citizens, “We don’t need your education. So don’t disturb us!”
The price we will soon pay is that more Moroccan families will continue to lose faith in public schools. Assaulting trainees may subconsciously lead many Moroccans to think that teachers do not do their job properly. The government is disappointing its people by not doing all it can to provide a quality education for students.
One day the government will look for teachers but will not find enough to teach all students on an equal footing. One day, students will come to class and be taught by teachers who do their job out of obligation, not out of passion. It is hard to expect an assaulted teacher trainee to teach passionately and forget about the injustices done to them by the government. These teachers may teach well, forgive and forget the past, but they may not inspire and motivate their students. It takes effort to do that. This is the price our students will pay, which why something should be done now.
The government has the power to assault teacher trainees now. It may do whatever it likes, depending on the stubbornness and mood of the head of the government, Abdelilah Benkirane. The government may beat, hit, wound, insult, ignore, scare away, or slap trainees. Yet one thing is undeniable and inevitable: a price will be paid for every single attempt to stifle the demands of not only teacher trainees, but also practicing teachers.
Dear Abdelilah Benkirane, teachers are like candles that burn themselves to light the way for others. So, please do not blow them all out earlier than expected. The ball is still in your court to redress the situation. If you fail, your party will have slim chances to keep its relative popularity and win this year’s legislative elections.
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