The petition supports arguments made by the former head of government, Abdelilah Benkirane.
Rabat – The Moroccan Coalition for the Arabic Language has launched a petition on Avaaz against draft framework Law 51. 17 which makes French the language of instruction for scientific and technological subjects in Moroccan schools.
The petition, under the title “For Linguistic Justice,” has generated more than 1,470 signatures.
The coalition said that political figures and Moroccan scholars also signed the petition.
In a press statement, the coalition said that more than 150 popular political and academic figures launched the petition to amend the framework law.
The petition addresses Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, the House of Representatives, the House of Councillors, the minister of education, and heads of parliamentary committees.
The signatories of the petition said that they rejected the content of the draft law, saying it contradicts the principles of the Moroccan Constitution and the status of the Arabic language in Morocco.
“The coalition plans to launch a popular petition open to individuals and institutions on social networks before resorting to other measure to mobilize all the energies and competencies of the community to demand the amendment of the law framework.”
The draft law stresses the importance of having students master three languages in addition to Arabic.
The draft law stipulates that students should be proficient in languages such as Tamazight (Berber), which is Morocco’s second official language, as well as in two other foreign languages.
Sign another petition
In addition to the coalition, the University of Education Employees affiliated with the Moroccan National Labor Union (UNTM) called on education employees and the public to sign a petition to condemn the draft law.
“The university warned of the consequences” of not abiding by the principles of the Moroccan Constitution because it would be against the “national consensus.”
The statement published by UNTM added that the university “emphasized its rejection of this prejudice against the purpose of the Arabic language and its fundamentalism as a basic language in teaching alongside Tamazight language.”
The petition supported statements made by former Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane, who strongly criticized the law.
On Sunday, Benkirane published a video on his Facebook to condemn the law.
Benkirane criticized members of his political party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), telling them that they “have no right to vote on this law.” The move, Benkirane argued, is a serious “betrayal of the principles of the party [PJD] and the Constitution and its vision.”
In addition to Benkirane, the head of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, Ahmed Raissouni, defended Arabic. “I am for Arabic teaching, and with it Morocco has been a great country.”
Raissouni also put forward English as preferable over French, emphasizing that it is the top language in the world.
“If science must to be taught in a foreign language, it must be taught in English. English first, then Spanish, and then French, and Morocco must come out of this monopoly, because the French language monopolizes Morocco, Moroccan intellectuals, thinkers, and students.”
The scholar went further, stating, “This bypassed monopoly to rape.”
For Raissouni, “Arabic should come first, and then English, and then we can look for a place for French.”
He added that students do not fully grasp lessons taught in French and English because their proficiency level is low.