Morocco is switching from an LMD higher education system, mainly used in Francophone countries, towards the Bachelor system used in the Anglophone world.
Rabat – Morocco is set to adopt a Bachelor system for higher education as of September 2020, announced the Moroccan Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education, and Scientific Research, Said Amzazi.
The minister made the announcement on Tuesday, January 7, at the opening of the Moroccan-American conference, organized in Marrakech under the theme: “National pedagogical reform of higher education, preparation for the implementation of the Bachelor.”
The new system will allow Morocco to open up more to international education systems, especially those in Anglophone countries that have demonstrated their efficiency, said Amzazi.
The minister gave American universities as examples, stating that nearly 50 American higher education institutions are ranked among the top 100 universities in the world, according to the Times Higher Education.
The Bachelor is the most widespread university degree in the world, Amzazi stressed, noting that the adoption of this system by Morocco is based on recommendations from Moroccan institutions.
An evaluation carried out by Moroccan universities has detected a number of deficiencies in the old Licence, Master, Doctorat (LMD) system, noted the official.
The LMD system has increased the attractiveness of Moroccan universities where more than 1.1 million students are enrolled, added Amzazi. However, the Bachelor system is expected to facilitate the mobility of Moroccan students to international universities.
The minister invited Moroccan universities to take part in this major project by offering quality courses to students. The National Agency for Higher Education and Scientific Research Quality Evaluation (ANEAQ) will evaluate the universities’ proposals before the launch of a registration campaign.
Amzazi expects the new system to provide students with soft skills and strengthen their learning of foreign languages and information technology.
The official also announced that universities will adopt a transition period before completely implementing the new system. Students in their first academic year in 2020-2021 will be the only ones affected by the change, while those who are in the second year or higher will continue their studies according to the current LMD system.
During the meeting, the minister presented the main reforms in higher education in Morocco to American officials. Amzazi introduced the ministry’s project to restore the use of foreign languages in the teaching of scientific and technical subjects in Morocco’s secondary school.
The minister concluded his presentations by recalling that the education sector is one of the pillars of the new development model, as it is capable of supporting the various sectoral strategies undertaken by Morocco.
The Moroccan-American conference is organized by Morocco’s Ministry of Education, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States in Morocco and the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchanges.
The two-day meeting aims to promote exchange between Morocco and the US in the field of education and to prepare for the implementation of the Bachelor system.
The conference program includes several sessions to discuss the transition to the Bachelor system, the development of training programs and credit systems, and the preparation of students to the job market, among other topics.
The presidents of a number of public and private Moroccan universities are taking part in the event, alongside representatives from the ministries of national education, of economy and finance, and of administrative reform, and American officials and heads of education institutions.
French vs English
Despite the higher education system shift, Moroccan students are still subject to curricula that are heavily influenced by the French education system.
French remains the language used in the teaching of all scientific and technical university courses.
In secondary schools, French is also starting to replace Arabic in the teaching of scientific and technical subjects, while English is still out of the picture.
In January 2019, Amzazi discussed the training of Moroccan teachers in the English language with his British counterpart during the World Education Forum in London.
The two officials discussed how to train Moroccan teachers in the English language, especially teachers of scientific disciplines such as mathematics, physics, and chemistry.
Amzazi also announced that three projects would take place as part of the education cooperation between Morocco and the UK.
The first project will establish an English language training program for 20,000 teachers of non-linguistic subjects. The second project will increase the teaching of English in Morocco with the opening of British schools.
Meanwhile, the final initiative concerned the signing of agreements between Moroccan and British universities.
While Amzazi ruled out the possibility that English may soon replace French in schools on several occasions, he said in London that “the Moroccan school aims to open up to the English model to diversify the national supply in education.”
“Everyone knows that science books are currently available in English more than French, and in French more than Arabic. But we teach in the French language… French will remain the second language (after Arabic) in Moroccan public schools, at least throughout the next ten years,” said Amzazi in a press conference in Rabat, in January 2019.
While it seems that the Moroccan education system is starting to shift away from the French model and towards the British and American models, it remains to be seen if the content will also make a shift. The only thing that is certain is that the transition will occur over several years and will not be an easy task.