The Ministry of Education’s 2009-2012 emergency plan failed to achieve success due to the lack of "sufficient management capacity.”
Rabat – In a recent report, Morocco’s Court of Auditors has identified major deficiencies in the implementation of the 2009-2012 emergency program to reform education.
The program intended to make up for the recorded delays in the educational sector since 2000. However, the report uncovered mismanagement and a lack of proper financial controls.
“The Court of Auditors considered that the Ministry of National Education’s emergency plan did not achieve all its objectives, nor did it have the expected positive impact on the education system,” the report concludes.
The court made the report public on December 12.
The report comes three months after the president of the Court of Auditors, Driss Jettou, gave the 2016-2017 annual report, which identified serious deficiencies in public and private schools regarding infrastructure, reception capacity, and the number of teachers.
Allocated resources exceeding the planned budget
The state allocated a total budget of approximately MAD 45.27 billion for the three-year program, with MAD 27.5 billion going to regional academies and 17.7 to the education ministry.
However, the total resources allocated to the education sector exceeded, according to the report, the planned budget for the emergency program by MAD 3.85 billion.
“Taking into account the payment appropriations for the years 2009-2012 and the commitment appropriations for the 2012 budget year, the resources allocated to the education sector, excluding payroll, amounted to MAD 49.12 billion.”
The ministry, however, “did not have a document approved by the Ministry of Finance, identifying the sources of funding and justifying the increase in the appropriations allocated to the education sector during the period 2009-2012.”
The court calculated the amount based on the administrative accounts of the education ministry and the accounts of regional academies.
The Court of Auditors attributed the weak performance to the lack of “sufficient management capacity” in the project implementation, planning, and financial management.
The report noted some progress in the education system in terms of “quantity.” The number of enrolled students increased from 5.6 million students in 2009 to 6 million in 2017 (up by 373,212 students in eight years), while the number of schools increased from 9,397 to 10,756.
Nevertheless, the court identified serious deficiencies in capacity, infrastructure, and pre-primary education.
The emergency program could only build 286 new schools out of the 1,164 schools planned in the program, at an implementation rate of 24 percent.
When it came to expanding existing schools, the program planned to build 7,052 new classrooms. Yet, the number did not exceed 4,062 classrooms (57 percent).
Schools with poor basic facilities
Despite the resources allocated for renovating schools, the Court of Auditors found some schools lacked basic facilities in the 2016-2017 school year.
The report identified 6,437 schools without connection to sewage, 3,192 schools not connected to drinking water, 681 schools not connected to the electricity network, in addition to 9,365 dilapidated classrooms.
In 2012, the emergency program had an object to generalize pre-primary education to 80 percent of primary schools by 2015.
However, the program did not meet its goal as only 24 percent out of 7,767 primary schools had pre-primary education in the 2016-2017 school year, according to the report.
The report also noted the problem of school overcrowding, which increased between 2008-2009 and 2016-2017, from 7 percent to 21 percent in primary schools and from 16 percent to 42 percent in secondary schools.
In order to overcome the acute and accumulated shortage in teachers, the education ministry resorted to recruiting 54,927 “contractually” between 2016 and 2017. The hired teachers did not have the required training which may, according to the report, negatively affect education quality.
The Court of Auditors recommended the education ministry conduct a thorough examination of the current education situation.
It also called on the ministry to take necessary measures and to implement risk assessment and alternative solutions before embarking on any program, particularly regarding the management capacities that various partners use in the program implementation.