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Moroccan Government Wants to Put an End to Free Education

Higher Education Reform: The Benefits of Cost

Rabat – Three years after its elaboration, the framework bill intended to reform Morocco’s education will finally see the light of day. However, far from amending the flaws of a devastated system, the draft bill wants to put an end to free education.

The only silver lining of an otherwise failing educational system will soon no longer be. Presented December 26 to the government, the 17-51 framework bill comes as a completion of the 2015-2030 strategic vision elaborated by the Higher Council for Education Training and Scientific Research to define the outlines of the future Moroccan schools.

If this bill is adopted by the parliament next spring, and if the decrees are quickly implemented, the framework law will come into effect in the fall of 2018-2019. However, even after three years following the development of the strategic vision, a reform is still urgent.

The project will have a strategic value as it defines the contours of the future Moroccan educational system. The text brings a lot of novelties with a potentially significant added value. Indeed, the bill deals in particular with curriculums, pedagogical methods, universal values as well as citizenship and patriotism.

At first glance, the 10 chapters and 57 articles of the bill present an optimistic picture of what the Moroccan school will look in 15 years. High-schools graduates will have full proficiency in Arabic, fluent in at least two foreign languages, and will be able to perfectly communicate in Amazigh.  

However, the flagship provision concerns the end of free education. The previous government had already tried a hand at the same subject, when former Minister of Education Lahcen Daoudi discussed the contribution of student families in the funding of certain specialties of higher education, mainly medicine.

At the time, these statements had provoked an uproar. Today, the El Othmani government intends to take the issue head on and is much more explicit.

“Inscription fees will be instilled in some majors of higher public education institutions,” an official at the Ministry of Education told Morocco World News under the condition of anonymity.

According to MWN’s source, secondary education will suffer the same fate, but in a second step. “These fees will take into account the income of families.”

While this project insists that education will remain free and compulsory for children from 4 to 15 years old, the text speaks further of the role of public authorities in the diversification of funding resources of the education system.

Furthermore, the bill encourages the state to appeal to “national and sectoral solidarity.” The project is made even more explicit by mentioning the parties that will contribute to financing, in particular “wealthy families, local authorities, institutions and public enterprises and the private sector.”

For the moment, the project does not accurately predict how this contribution will be collected. The latter will probably be fixed by regulation. That said, the draft bill implies that the contributions will go directly to a support fund dedicated to the generalization and improvement of the quality of compulsory education.

In short, education until the age of 15 will be free in the public sector. Beyond this, the text in its current version opens the door to the payment of registration fees and probably other costs in universities and their various faculties in addition to institutions and other establishments of higher education, as well as qualifying teaching, namely high schools.

However, what the average Moroccan with limited income will retain first and foremost from this project, is this unexpected and unwanted gift from the Executive, under the leadership of the head of government, Saadeddine El Othmani.

Education in Morocco remains a major problem in a country that still has to find a balance between an expensive private sector for the majority of Moroccans and a devastated and taxed public school.

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