The number of primary school children studying the Tamazight (Berber) language this academic year has increased to 600,000.
Rabat – The secretary of state at the ministry of National Education, Higher Education, and Scientific Research, Khalid Samadi, revealed the figures while speaking before the House of Representatives on Monday.
Samadi has highlighted the joint vision that both Royal Institute of the Amazigh Culture (IRCAM) and the ministry put in place in 2003, which allowed the continuous training of 15,000 teachers of Tamazight.
The partnership wrote and produced textbooks for grades 1-6 in primary school and wrote Tamazight dictionaries with the help of IRCAM.
Samadi pointed out that the institute and the ministry will provide enough Amazigh (Berber) professors to compensate the lack in the field, estimating the need for Tamazight teachers in primary schools at 8,000 teachers by 2029-2030.
The statistics echoed Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani’s figures revealed in a meeting at the House of Councillors on June 19 while responding to a question about “the public policy concerning the development of national languages and cultural expressions.”
El Othmani considered that teaching Tamazight in primary schools is mandatory. He added that 4,200 primary schools in Morocco teach Tamazight, while more than 500,000 students study the language.
He also insisted on integrating Tamazight into the educational system, as part of Morocco’s “rich national identity.”
Moreover, El Othmani has urged the usage of Arabic and Tamazight—the two languages of Morocco stipulated in the 2011 Constitution—in public institutions and administrations and in books, media outlets, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, and magazines.
The July 2011 Constitution was the first time Morocco considered Tamazight an official language in the country.