With more students interested in Spanish, Moroccans are keeping the Cervantes Institutes busy.
Rabat – A roundtable at the Cervantes Institute in Rabat yesterday emphasized Moroccans’ interest in the Spanish language.
The director of the institute, Javier Galvan Guijo, said that academic activity at Cervantes Institutes in Morocco grew by 16 percent in 2018 over 2017.
In 2017, according to Guijo, 11 percent more Moroccan students showed interest in learning the Spanish language compared to 2016.
“Moroccans are proving more and more that Castilian is not a foreign language; moreover Spanish and Moroccan cultures are so closely linked to one another that we cannot understand them separately.”
According to Jose Sarria, a researcher in Hispano-Maghreb literature, the challenge is how to make the Spanish language more prevalent language in the cultural and literary fields in Morocco.
He also called for more initiatives to offer Spanish language learning opportunities for Moroccans.
The participants of the roundtable called for more coordination between Moroccan and Spanish authorities to promote the Spanish language in high education institutes and universities.
In addition to Spanish, English is also emerging as a popular foreign language in Morocco.
Although courses in English are available in Moroccan universities, French remains the language of instruction and the primary foreign language in the North African country.
Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi said recently that French will continue to be the dominant foreign language in Moroccan schools “at least throughout the next ten years.”
Amzazi received criticism from Moroccan internet users, who argued that English should be integrated into school curricula as the first foreign language because it is perceived to be the language of globalization.
French remains the dominant foreign language, owing to 44 years of French rule from 1912 to 1956. Many Moroccans are demanding change, seeing the dominance of French language in Morocco as an unwanted leftover from French colonization.
The only official languages in Morocco are Arabic and Tamazight (Berber).
People in northern Morocco, due to the area’s proximity to Spain and having been partially colonized by Spain, tend to prefer Spanish as a foreign language over French.