Rabat – In his first week, Mohamed Hassad, Morocco’s new Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, has decided to end the ongoing conflict between the professors of philosophy and Islamic education.
Hassad’s new ministry has vowed to review the content of the controversial “Manar” Islamic education textbooks, which sparked the indignation of the National Office of the Moroccan Association of Philosophy Teachers earlier this year. The teachers found the text’s views on philosophy to be offensive.
The Ministry of Education organized a meeting, headed by Hassad, which brought together the National Office of the Moroccan Association of Philosophy Teachers with the Islamic Education curriculum directors. The purpose of the meeting was to thoroughly review the textbooks and take all necessary oversight measures before reprinting them for next year.
During the meeting, the National Office of the Moroccan Association of Philosophy Teachers presented a note containing its pedagogical, ideological and epistemological observations on the “Manar for Islamic education” curriculum and textbooks.
AbdelKarim Saffir, the secretary general of the association, stressed the need for the ministry to conduct an urgent review of the contents of the Islamic Education textbooks. For Saffir, this meeting was the perfect opportunity to turn the page on the long-standing conflict between the two parties. His goal is to build a relationship based on the development of joint educational work between the association and the ministry.
Regarding the development of joint educational work, the meeting defined the discussion of the 2017 philosophical Olympiad project, setting the educational clubs in the educational institutions and informing the curriculum director about the participation of the association in the international symposium of philosophy in Algeria.
Earlier this year, the Moroccan Association of Teachers of Philosophy condemned what they felt was offensive content contained in the Islamic education textbooks regarding the subjects of philosophy and humanities and the real and natural sciences. In their view, the textbooks contained distorted ideas about the purposes of philosophy and science. Many philosophy professors felt compelled to take to the streets to protest their indignation and discontent.
The association considers the textbooks of the new Islamic education to be intransigent and representative of a call for fanaticism, inertia and extremism. To the professors, they have nothing to do with the Moroccan traditions established in the philosophical culture. As they see it, this is one of the basic components in Morocco’s identity as a nation. It begins with the country’s Amazigh roots and the great philosophers of the world. The association also describes the new curriculum’s approach to Islamic education as a retrogressive option for the democratic, human and civil rights that Moroccans have fought for and are still fighting for.