Rabat – Morocco’s Education Minister, Said Amzazi has revealed that an increasing number of Moroccan pupils are leaving private schools to join public ones.
Amzazi, who was speaking at a parliamentary session on October 14, said that the unusual trend–Moroccan parents are traditionally known for preferring private schools for their children–is indicative of a “regain of trust” for the country’s public education system.
“This year, over 52,000 of last year’s 700,000 pupils at private institutions left their private schools in direction of public ones,” Amzazi said when asked about the current state, and the future of Morocco’s public schools.
As far as Amzazi sees it, this usually unheard-of shift speaks of the improving standards in the country’s public institutions.
He argued that the change means the country’s public learning institutions are “progressively” gaining back the reputation that used to be theirs in the first decades of post-colonial Morocco. To make sense of what Amzazi sees as an encouraging trend, his ministry has requested a nation-wide study to explore the underlying reasons behind the change.
The prospective study, according to sources who have been briefed on its scope and content, seeks to answer questions such as “Why are masses of students joining public schools?” or “What would motivate a parent to prefer public schools over private ones?”
Even before the results of the study, however, the minister is convinced that the change boils down to the “progressive improvements” in Moroccan public schools.
During a conference late last month, Amzazi, who was already aware of the trend, unreservedly spoke about how Morocco’s public schools are evolving, claiming their lost reputation, and “progressively regaining” public trust.
But the news comes amid a persisting negative perception of public schools among most Moroccans, and it is doubtful whether the arguments put forth by the minister are the only ones that account for the change.
Last August, a government-sponsored study established that persisting disparities and social inequalities continue to stain Morocco’s education system, giving private schools the upper hand over ill-financed, destitute public schools.
Contrary to Amzazi’s insistence on Morocco’s public school gaining back their nobility, an alternative reading, supported by most non-government bodies, is that the exorbitant fees at private institutions are most likely prompting many parents to resort to public schools instead.