By Said Rahioui
By Said Rahioui
Rabat – Nowadays, learning has become more abysmal in our country. This upsetting fact may be ascribed to a set of interconnected factors, which spectacularly degenerate the current situation of Moroccan education.
Despite the process of trial and error adopted by the responsible, all the trials failed to meet the desired objectives. From this perspective, I would like to broach that the majority of the applied approaches in our education stem from totally different environments. To be precise, Moroccan educationalists continue to borrow educational methods from decidedly advanced countries such as Canada, Japan, France, and Germany to name just a few. This situation seems to be tongue-in-cheek since the specialists try to apply some approaches, which are meant to serve a particular educational landscape, and not the Moroccan one. Every teaching and learning approach has certain requirements to take place. As a concrete illustration, the application of the Communicative Language Teaching approach in the learning process has need of a limited number of students in the classroom, highly qualified and veteran teachers, which is totally the contrary in our country. In this vein, the following questions are addressed. First, what are the reasons that result in the agony of Moroccan education? Second, why do all adopted approaches fail to meet the set up goals of change? Third, to what extent can we claim that Moroccan students are able to develop their learning process and create positive and promising changes? How can we overcome the threatening failure our education undergoes?
At the outset, the compelling reason that has exacerbated Moroccan education is the arbitrary intercession of politics in the field of education. That is to say, when politicians control the decision-making process in education, an unavoidable malfunction occurs. Putting it differently, politicians have various backgrounds that, more often than not, lack the necessary tools to make the right decisions and come up with insightful reforms. People who lack experience and expertise in education must keep out of education and give the opportunity to those who have rich and wide-ranging knowledge about the theories and the approaches related to education. It is nonsensical to involve politicians in the decision-making process, because their contributions lack unity and conformity, as their political orientation appears to be contradictory. Since there is this concrete dichotomy in their backgrounds, there will be nothing but bedlam and unproductiveness in all their trials.
This very critical concept, education, is considered to be one of the most outstanding and leading domains, which is the backbone and the corner stone of every progress. It is instantly recognizable that with a frail education, all sectors will unquestionably undergo, from top to bottom, an entire paralysis and breakdown. To be well reformed, education stalwartly requires competent people who can bring invaluable, practical and fail-safe solutions, which can lead to the achievement of positive outcomes to reach the apogee and escape the experienced decline.
As far as the second reason is concerned, it may be attributed to incompetent teachers who have joined the world of education. Of late, a lot of parents have asserted that they are not satisfied with the outcomes their children achieve in public institutions. Their claims are more often related to the lack of competence and the required skills in the educational body as a whole. In the classroom environment, the teacher tries to follow easy approaches, which do not help the students improve their learning and does not have a follow-up strategy to assess the skills being learnt during the course. Besides, both the summative and formative assessment methods are ignored, as the teacher is not aware of their basically important role in the learning process. In the same context, light should be shed on the lack of lesson preparation, which causes a poor flow in the offered courses.
In this day and age, the training given to Moroccan English Language Teachers in particular and the teachers of other subjects in general does not procure them with the necessary materials and the practical knowledge they will be using when they will set their feet on the educational platform. One-year training is not and will never be sufficient to guarantee fruitful results. At least, a couple of years ago, the offered training was two years time, and the obtained results were far better than those obtained in one-year time training. In general, the outcomes students have achieved were to some extent satisfying.
Today, parents find themselves obliged to send their children to private institutions even though it does cost them an arm and a leg because they have lost confidence in the public sector and the poor services it offers. to realize their full professional potential. For this reason, all priorities are given to them so that they can lead the country to a better environment and procure it with the necessary tools to be benchmarked against the best countries.
Underprivileged students are the victims in this educational game.. The accessibility to private schools remains hard if not impossible in most cases. This category is overlooked by the responsible, squeezed by hardship, and marginalized by the whole society. The situation gradually worsens as it opens new doorways to juvenile crimes, which have calamitous effects on the individual in particular and the community in general.
Another important reason for the decline of education is associated with the overloaded programs. Starting from the primary education to post graduate studies, the student must study more than seven subjects with extremely loaded programs. In this vein, the teacher is obliged to finish the whole program integrated in each subject. This approach leads to the deficiency in the learning process as it completely emphasizes quantity more willingly than quality. Today, the job market requires quality in order to pave the way towards new horizons and new challenges, which do create weighty and successfully built businesses.
The age of students must be taken into account if we really want to realize positive outcomes. The weight of backpacks can negatively affect the growth of young learners’ physical and mind health. The burden they carry on their backs the whole day can push them to hate school and consider it as their first enemy. Furthermore, it is very difficult for the students who are 5 or 6 years old to grasp all what their tutors teach them. The situation gets worse with the number of subjects they have to cover. Since the mind of young learners is not as ready as that of older learners, it will be hard for the former to receive the presented information in a successful way. To help students fathom out all the given information, the situation requires more time, which is not the case in our country, Morocco. If the teacher adopts the drill approach, he will never be able to finish the program in the set deadline. The latter approach is of significant importance as it gives a golden opportunity to learners to master and stick the skills taught to them.
The shift from the French system to the Arabic system that Moroccan government has experienced has contributed to the degradation of education, which was, to some extent, fruitful and solid two decades ago. The flaw with this system is that it lacks combination and unity since it is adopted only in the primary, junior and high school education. After these three main stages, higher education adopts a French system especially in science related fields. This situation brings about a serious breakdown between the three first stages of education and university. Students are accustomed to a specific system, the Arabic system. Then, they meet a completely different system, the French system, which creates confusion and encumbrance in the learning process of students. A lot of learners find the fields they want to study quite hard. Consequently, this situation compels them to change their specialization and follow other fields even though they neither appreciate nor excel at them.
The Moroccan government has hardly tried to reform education and earmarked large budgets to overcome the difficulties besieging the current education. However, all the trials failed to meet the planned objectives. The government has adopted different reforming programs that have borrowed from different countries namely Canada, France, and Japan. All these programs have not made the grade since they have been integrated in a different educational landscape. These approaches require a specific number of students in the classroom (14 to 20) which is the contrary in Morocco (40 to 50). Moreover, such approaches need expert teachers to achieve rewarding results. Finally, the philosophy of the follow-up approach has to be taken into consideration. Another important factor that does not give an opportunity to the borrowed programs to be successful is the vision of the responsible is a short-term vision. Whatever chosen program, regardless of its effectiveness, must have a long-term vision if we really want to embrace well heeled change. It is impossible to come up with new programs and wait to get the results in four or five year’s time. All approaches must be given the necessary and required time to be effectual.
The majority of our dear students give too much emphasis to learning by heart what they get from their teachers without having an evident and clear understanding of what they HEAR or what they have in the given handouts. Unfortunately, a lot of students aim at getting their bachelor degree as soon as possible. However, they do not know whether their real level will allow them to accomplish and meet their objectives or not. Their skills are atrociously weak, in terms of performance chiefly in speaking, writing as well as many other aspects especially in language learning namely grammar, phonology, semantics, vocabulary and so forth. Actually, it is a disgusting reality. I keep marveling all the time, how do those students accept their bogus reality? How do they perceive themselves among other successful students? Are they satisfied with the result they have gotten? What do they need from this country? To what extent they will deal with their students in case they join the job market? How will they feel if some of their students find different flaws in their teaching and the way they transmit knowledge? …. The acrid reality is when such students’ obsession is getting high marks even though they do not deserve them (we have a lot of examples: students with 6 or 5 distinctions…but with empty minds). I would be abashed if I were in their places. From this regard, I would like to send a touching and powerful message to all Moroccan students telling them: You, as Moroccan learners, have to bear in your minds that there will be no place for incompetent people in the forthcoming future. For this compelling reason I urge you to endeavor and strive so that you can successfully create a positive and abrupt change in Moroccan education and save it from the real danger devouring it from all sides.
To conclude, several solutions are suggested to enhance our education. Firstly, teachers must go through a thorough and painstaking training for three years so as to get the indispensable competences. Secondly, the responsible must focus on quality not quantity. Thirdly, the number of the subjects should be minimized and keep only the relevant subjects, which job the market requires. Additionally, the overcrowded classrooms must be reconsidered. Fourthly, university students should assume their learning responsibility by devoting as much as possible time and efforts to their studies and by focusing all their attention on one point, enriching their fund of knowledge. In brief, it is worth mentioning that it is only by taking these modest suggestions into consideration that the Moroccan educational system can be partially reformed.
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