Three organizations representing the private education sector asked the government for help, a move many in the public saw as greedy.
Marrakech – While celebrities and companies have announced donations to Morocco’s fund for the fight against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), three organizations representing Moroccan private schools sparked public outrage when they asked for financial aid from the Moroccan government.
The National Federation of Private Education and Vocational Training (FMEFP), the National League of Private Education (AEPM), and the Conference of Grandes Ecoles (CDGE) for prestigious higher education institutions wrote a letter to Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani, calling for financial and administrative aid from the government “to save the private sector of education during the current crisis of the coronavirus.”
The three organizations sent the letter on Wednesday, March 18, the day when Morocco recorded its first locally-infected COVID-19 patients and announced a further escalation of its preventive measures.
FMEFP, AEPM, and CDGE said the suspension of studies in Morocco, announced on March 13, will force private schools and businesses into bankruptcy.
“There are many indicators that suspension of studies will lead to financial imbalances in the sector. Private institutions might find themselves unable to pay employees, taxes and bank loans,” said the letter.
The letter sparked public outrage among social media users, with hundreds condemning the move as “opportunist” and “greedy.”
“I expected initiatives to help Moroccans not extra-demands from the government,” posted Youssef Belhaissi, a senior journalist at Medi 1 TV channel.
“The private [sector] should not ask for financial support at the critical period. Private sector of education should also contribute to the national fund of Coronavirus Covid-19 instead of taking from it” wrote Professor Abdeljalil Amim of Cadi Ayyad University on social media.
Following the backlash, AEPM apologized to Moroccans. The organization released an official statement apologizing for the misunderstanding. AEPM stated that its demands aim only to prevent bankruptcy and not to benefit from the coronavirus special fund.