Compared to the 2020 Finance Bill, next year’s budget for the education system is nearly MAD 7 billion less.
Rabat – Morocco’s 2021 Finance Bill allocates a budget of MAD 65.49 billion ($7.16 billion) for the country’s education sector.
The government has vowed that the education sector would be among its priorities for the 2021 Finance Bill.
The document, however, shows that the allocation for education next year is less than the budget that Morocco dedicated to the sector in 2020.
In the 2020 finance bill, Morocco allocated MAD 72.4 billion ($7.91 billion) for education. That represented a 16.75 % increase from 2019.
Morocco’s education budget for next year, however, is nearly MAD 7 billion ($765 million) less than that of 2020.
The Moroccan government has vowed to take several measures to improve the education sector, one of its announced priorities.
The most recent pledge came just weeks ago when Mohammed Benchaaboun, the Minister of Economy, said that the Appropriation Bill seeks to give priority to the health and education sectors.
Regarding budgets, he vowed that the government would allocate an additional MAD 5 billion ($546 million) for health and education, Morocco’s state media reported in September. Both sectors need reform, according to several independent and government reports.
An August 2018 report from the Court of Auditors identified alarming deficiencies in both public and private schools in terms of infrastructure and the number of teachers.
The court’s 2016-2017 report similarly found major setbacks in basic facilities of some schools. The issues mainly concern drinking water, electricity, and sewage.
The report also found issues regarding a lack of teachers and financial support.
It further showed that boarding schools and school cafeterias suffer from congestion in reception capacity and inadequate reception conditions.
The document from Driss Jettou’s office also cited a lack of reception infrastructure for special needs and preschool students, as well as insufficient safety and health conditions.
Some of these major issues are still prevalent in schools in Morocco, signaling a need to focus on the education budget.
The COVID-19 crisis, however, appears to be affecting all sectors and priorities.
Morocco entered into its ongoing state of emergency on March 20. The country’s strict lockdown during the early months of the outbreak led most businesses to shut down to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Schools also had to shut down beginning March 16. Education ran remotely until the end of the 2019-2020 school year.
For the 2020-2021 academic year, some parents have chosen in-person education for their children while others prefer they stay home for remote classes.
The transition resulted in several issues, with many parents not satisfied with remote education.
Concerns also mounted as many students live in remote areas with insufficient resources to afford phones, internet plans, or computers to study online.
Problems have always faced students in remote areas, however, as many pupils have to travel miles to reach schools in mountainous areas.
The far distance in addition to economic motives have long pushed a significant number of students to drop out.
According to a report from the Higher Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research (CSEFR), 432,876 students dropped out of public schools in 2018.
Approximately 78% of the students who dropped out did so during primary and secondary school study.