By Bryn Miller
By Bryn Miller
Rabat – Lahcen Daoudi, Minster of Higher Education, Scientific Research, and Training, reaffirmed his commitment to digital development and the transition to English in higher education in a conference with university officials in Rabat on Wednesday.
This meeting marked the beginning of the sixth year of “Injaz al-Magrib”, a program that seeks to renew and develop the Moroccan higher education system.
This year, Daoudi and Delegate Minister Jamila Almisli emphasized technological investments. In 2016, the government will allocate 230 million dirhams to provide 64 thousand students with computers and tablets equipped with high-speed internet. Over the past five years, the program has provided 126,500 students with electronics for a total cost of 647 million dirhams.
Daoudi also reiterated his support for the campaign to establish English as the second language in Moroccan higher education. Daoudi has backed this movement for years, citing Moroccan student’s lack of professional English as a major barrier to success in the scientific fields.
The minister told Alyaoum in 2014 that French is no longer a useful language, especially for students studying science. Since English is now the lingua franca for academics worldwide, doctoral students that are unable to write their references in English have no value in the field. He predicts that in the coming five years university students will be required to take some of their tests in English as the higher education system refocuses linguistically.
The minister plans to require doctoral candidates to write part of their projects in English by 2017, although many administrators have pointed out that university research centers are not beholden to the regulations of Daoudi’s ministry.
Currently, approximately 20% of Morocco’s population speaks some English. Head of Government Adbelilah Benkirane, Dr. Daoudi, and various other politicians and think tanks have all expressed their support for the adoption of English as Morocco’s second language of the future.