Rabat – Moroccan Minister of Culture Mohamed Amine Sbihi has stated that “the approximate number of Moroccan readers does not exceed one million.”
During a press conference held Monday in Rabat to announce the schedule of 23rd annual International Book Fair in Casablanca, Sbihi said that “the middle class citizens are the ones who have the ability to read books,” noting that “the average of the book sales does not exceed 1500 copies,” per published book.
Sbihi went on to say that “the ministry is not responsible for the decline of reading in Morocco,” noting that the ministry organizes several cultural events throughout the year to motivate the Moroccans to read.
“The Ministry of Education is responsible for reading,” Sbihi continued. “It is not fair to see that Moroccan students have 30 hours of school per week, while in Europe they only have 23 hours.”
Sbihi went on further to call on the ministry to “avoid burdening the students with ‘unworthy subjects’ by reducing the numbers of hours and assign hours when students can explore books, theatre, and art.”
The minister also stated that the decline of reading in Morocco is not due to technology. “There are developed countries more advanced than Morocco in technology and they still respect the status of the book,” Sbihi said, “because the matter is related to the relationship of the society with the book.”
The 2017 International Book Fair, to be held February 9 to 19 in Casablanca, expects to receive approximately 350,000 visitors, according to the minister.