Rabat – In the past few days, rumors about the government’s intention to put an end to free education spread like wildfire on national media and social networks, raising uproar and concern amid the public opinion. Today, the government finally reacted.
“Completely untrue” is how the head of the Moroccan government, Saad Eddine El Othmani described the news, reassuring the public opinion that the Executive has no intention whatsoever to abandon free education in public institutions.
In short, this is the general commitment that emerged from the review of the 17-51 draft framework law on the reform of the Moroccan educational system discussed during the weekly meeting of the Governmental Council held on January 4.
That being said, the government do in fact intended to introduce inscription fees to higher public institution. However, according to El Othmani, this measure will exclusively concern “wealthy families, while exempting the poor, fragile and middle class ones.”
On what criteria will the government decide who’s rich enough to pay for an education and who’s not? And will these fees also concern the primary and secondary education?
These questions are yet to be answered. For the time being, El Othmani has vowed to “inform the public of the contents of the draft framework law after the ratification of the final text in the Council of Ministers, and after referring it to Parliament for presentation and discussion by the representatives of the nation.”
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 higher 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.