The Moroccan ministers of health and education toured testing centers in the Casablanca-Settat region to usher in the first day of the 2020 baccalaureate exams.
Rabat – The 2020 baccalaureate exams kicked off Friday at 8 a.m. at testing centers throughout Morocco. Some 441,238 candidates are set to take the standardized tests from July 3 to 9.
Minister of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education, and Scientific Research Saaid Amzazi and Minister of Health Khalid Ait Taleb toured a number of examination centers in the Casablanca-Settat region.
The Moroccan officials, joined by local authorities, welcomed the commencement of the exams and observed the sanitary measures in place to protect students and proctors from COVID-19.
The delegation visited the exam center at the military field hospital in Benslimane, which is serving candidates who tested positive for COVID-19, before heading to exam sites at the local prison, Ain Sbaa 1, and at the Mohammed V sports complex in Casablanca. The tour also included visits to exam centers in Berrechid and at the Hassan I University’s Faculty of Science and Technology in Settat.
Amzazi said that this year’s priority is to guarantee the safety of baccalaureate candidates and proctors in coordination with local and national authorities.
The minister reassured the families of candidates by saying that the 2020 baccalaureate exam maintains a positive atmosphere despite the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19.
He welcomed the joint actions undertaken by all ministerial departments, particularly the ministries of health, the interior, youth, and sports, in addition to university establishments, to meet the challenges of the pandemic.
All candidates, proctors, and relevant facilitators must adhere to strict preventative measures during the exams. The centers will provide protective face masks and sterilized equipment.
Exam center halls, desks, chairs, transportation vehicles, documents, envelopes, and all other necessary equipment will be thoroughly and continuously disinfected during the exams, the education ministry assured before testing commenced.
The ministry emphasized the importance of social distancing during the exams, mobilizing large venues such as amphitheaters and sports complexes. Candidates will be equipped with hand sanitizer and face masks and will undergo temperature checks.
The 2020 candidates
Of the 441,238 candidates registered to take the exam, 49% are female and 51% are male.
This year, 318,917 candidates, or 72%, are students. Students attending state schools represent 64% of total candidates, while those attending private schools represent 8%.
The remaining 28% includes 122,321 independent candidates registered for the “free-access” baccalaureate (“bac libre”).
The number of free candidates and candidates from private schools increased by 12.5% and 7%, respectively. The number of candidates from public schools decreased by 5%.
Approximately 870 inmates have also registered to take the baccalaureate and will be scattered across 48 testing centers. Transfer to external centers has been limited to preserve inmates’ health.
The scientific and technical baccalaureate is the most popular category (249,338 candidates or 57%), followed by the literary branch (181,234 candidates or 41%) and vocational branches (10,666 candidates or 2%).
The number of participants in the international branches (French-English) increased by 75.27% from 2019, with 43,781 registered candidates this year.
The number of candidates with special needs has also increased from 402 in 2019 to 539 in 2020. These candidates benefit from special testing and grading guidelines.
Authorities in various Moroccan regions and cities — including Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Kenitra, Dakhla, Laayoune, Marrakech, Guelmim, and Fez — confirmed Friday that exams are underway in strict compliance with health measures.