By Sana ElouaziRabat - After many attempts to elevate Arabic’s status over other languages present in the kingdom, PJD members have elaborated a new draft law to impose the use of Arabic in schools, advertising, and public administrations. Heavy fines would await violators of the proposed regulations.
By Sana Elouazi
Rabat – After many attempts to elevate Arabic’s status over other languages present in the kingdom, PJD members have elaborated a new draft law to impose the use of Arabic in schools, advertising, and public administrations. Heavy fines would await violators of the proposed regulations.
A group of PJD deputies submitted a new bill to the House of Representatives on November 15, entitled the “Protection and Development of the use of Arabic Language.” The draft calls on the state “to adhere to all conventions and international bodies for the protection of Arabic language,” to “integrate Arabic in education and all priority areas of public life,” and to “develop programs in order to boost its status and generalize its use.”
The PJD’s new draft law strives to boost Arabic’s status as the official language of Morocco. It aims to promote Arabic as the main language for education, administration, and public institutions, as well as general affairs management and public services.
This proposal, coming in 13 pages and 42 articles, stipulates a number of measures to protect Arabic, which would likely not please everyone. For example, the bill calls in its article 7 for the teaching of Arabic to become compulsory for all Moroccan children.
In addition, all scientific subjects must be taught in Arabic, as it will be the language of examinations, competitions, university theses, whether for public or private educational institutions, stipulates article 6 of the proposal.
Schools where another official language is taught and those which are under the responsibility of foreign missions are excluded from this obligation. However, they are not exempted from the teaching of Arabic and must provide courses for this language.
The proposal of the Islamist party, also stipulates that audio-visual media must devote a significant part of their airtime to the “Sibawayh” language.
More than that, commercial messages, whether written, audio, or video, must be broadcast in Arabic. The same goes for ads, posters, and information leaflets addressed to the general public.
The text also stipulates that contracts, invoices, and even purchase orders must be written in Arabic as long as they do not involve a foreign party.
Under the same bill, every Moroccan has the right to speak Arabic at conferences, conventions, and any other activity taking place in Morocco.
Heavy sanctions in case of infringement
The PJD also wants to punish any violation of the articles regarding the use of the Arabic language in advertisements by “a fine between 10,000 and MAD 50,000,” says article 35 of the draft law.
The text also provides for a fine of MAD 5,000 to MAD 20,000 if documents distributed at events or conferences organized by Moroccans are not written in Arabic. The same for employment contracts written in a language other than Arabic.
During a meeting on Monday November 20 at the House of Representatives, Mohamed Laarej, the interim Minister of Education, said that “the 2017-2021 language teaching strategy goes in line with the 2015-2030 Moroccan strategic vision of education, approved in February 2016 by Benkirane’s government.”
This proposal comes a few months after the commitments of the former Minister of Education, Mohamed Hassad, who introduced the teaching of French language in the first year of primary school and strengthened its instruction from the fifth year of schooling.