The surging interest in the FAR’s recruitment program starkly contrasts with the heavy criticism that followed when the government announced the program.
Rabat – The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) has released statistics that are bound to confound critics of Morocco’s program of compulsory military service: large sections of Moroccan youth are indeed interested in joining the military to “serve their country.”
In an announcement on its Facebook page over the weekend, the FAR gave detailed information about the latest developments in this year’s call for registration for compulsory service. Most notably, FAR’s announcement indicated the number of conscripts for this year is now set to be 15,000, up from the initial 10,000.
According to FAR, the significant change in the initial target is due to the enthusiasm and the patriotic ardor of candidates.
Although the program is not compulsory for women, FAR’s figures hint at a substantial interest among female recruits to join the program.
In total, 84,000 candidates, of whom 24,000 are female, have so far enlisted.
The registration process began on April 9 and is expected to end on June 7. The selected candidates will be deployed in the social services branch of the FAR in Temara near Rabat as well as at the air and naval bases in the Casablanca region. 1,100 of the 15,000 selected will be female, FAR announced.
The announcement comes in the aftermath of a heated debate over the return of compulsory military service, with critics suggesting that the move does not respond to the needs of young Moroccans.
As Moroccan millennials aspire to other things, including proficiency in contemporary technical advances such artificial intelligence, one critic argued, imposing military service on young Moroccans was inconsiderate and “anachronistic.”
But FAR’s announcement may have suggested that contrary to the barrage of heavy criticism that has marked debates about the military service policy, many young Moroccans actually see the policy in a positive light. The 50% increase in the initial target shows great enthusiasm from young Moroccans.
In an interview with Moroccan outlet Telquel, Hassnaa Bellaziz, who was the first female candidate to register for the service, spoke passionately of her eagerness to be among the selected candidates. Bellaziz says she is ready to resign from her current job to both “realize my childhood dream” and serve her country.
“Military service will allow me to give something back to my country, and that makes me proud,” said the 22-year-old.