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Morocco Maintains ‘Very Low’ Score in English Proficiency Index

Morocco’s education minister has been advocating French language use, emphasizing that English will not replace French any time soon.

Rabat – Morocco ranked 76th in the 2019 English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), maintaining a “very low” score in the recent ranking.

The index listed Morocco among the very low proficiency countries with a score of only 47.19. In 2018, Morocco scored 48.10, and the index listed it 60th out of 88 countries.

Morocco maintained its position in the regional index, where it is ranked sixth behind Tunisia (fifth), and Ethiopia (fourth).

South Africa, ranked sixth globally, tops the index in Africa, followed by Kenya (18th in the global ranking).

Nigeria came third in Africa and 29th in the world.

The index ranked Algeria the 90th on the list.

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“Adults in North Africa speak English at levels similar to their peers in the Middle East. Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have complex linguistic landscapes with local dialects of Arabic, Berber, French, and Modern Standard Arabic all serving various roles in private life, the education system, and the public sphere.”

The index emphasized that the English language is a newcomer to ‘the mix.’

The statement is particularly relevant to Morocco as senior Moroccan officials do not see English replacing French any time soon.

Earlier this year, Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi said that French will remain the second language after Arabic in Moroccan schools.

He ruled out the possibility of English replacing French in schools, stating that “everyone knows that science books are currently available in English more than French, and French more than Arabic. But we teach in the French language.”

Languages in Morocco are one of the topical issues dividing public opinions.

While some promote Arabic and English, others believe that French should continue to take the lead. 

The Minister of Education urged Moroccan schools to implement the framework law 51.17 at the start of the academic year 2019-2020. 

Article 31 of the framework law calls for the teaching of scientific and technical subjects in middle and high schools in foreign languages (mainly French).