The EU previously injected its Moroccan assistance budget with an additional €450 million to support the country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rabat – The European Union is set to grant Morocco MAD 1.5 billion (€139.16 million) to strengthen the country’s distance education mechanisms and ensure the continuation of Moroccan students’ learning amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Morocco’s Minister of Economy Mohamed Benchaaboun, Minister of Education Said Amzazi, and the Director of the National Agency for the Fight Against Illiteracy, Mahmoud Abdel Samih, inked the agreement with the EU ambassador to Morocco, Claudia Wiedey, on April 27.
Wiedey highlighted the role of education in human development in a statement after the signing.
“Education, skills development, and individual fulfillment, which are at the heart of our action, are an integral part of the development of societies in the 21st century,” she remarked.
“At this particular time, when the whole world is affected by this pandemic, we must invest even more in skills and human development,” she continued, stressing the importance of empowering youth through socio-economic integration.
“Failure to do so would be a risk for the harmonious development of society today and tomorrow, and would lead us to have to assume a much higher cost in the future,” Wiedey said.
A statement from the EU delegation to Morocco said that the new program under the agreement has an “innovative dimension, that of acting transversally to the education and training sectors, to put the learners, their personal projects, needs, and learning achievement back at the center.”
The new aid is not the first of its kind from Morocco’s European ally. In March, the EU allocated an additional €450 million to its Moroccan assistance budget to support the North African country in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EU pledged a €150 million immediate grant in the announcement, vowing support to Morocco’s Special Fund for the Management and Response to COVID-19.
The remaining €300 million will be mobilized at a later date, according to the EU announcement.
Morocco and its oldest ally, the EU, maintain strong cooperation in all fields, including education.
In March, minister delegate in charge of higher education and scientific research, Driss Ouaouicha, held talks with European Commissioner for Education and Culture Maria Gabriel on means to strengthen cooperation in higher education and scientific research.
The talks also focused on the mobility of students, researchers, and administrative staff, as well as on “the means to develop tripartite cooperation with Africa.” Ouaouicha said that both Morocco and the EU have a “lot of points of convergence on these topics of common interest.”