Since the outbreak of COVID-19, activists and citizens have shared concerns regarding students in remote areas, who faced hurdles in accessing education even before the emergence of the pandemic.
Rabat – Morocco, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Embassy of Norway in Rabat, launched a campaign to distribute tablets to students in Morocco’s remote areas.
UNDP representative Edward Christow and the Ambassador of Norway in Morocco Merethe Nergaard chaired the launch ceremony along with Morocco’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi.
The campaign will deliver 696 tablets to students, enabling them “to keep up with their classes remotely due to the exceptional situation that our country is experiencing due to the spread of COVID-19,” the Ministry of Education said.
The ministry added that it selected the students to receive tablets using specific criteria, taking into account gender equality.
COVID-19 resulted in several crises, including the prevention of students in remote areas to attend in-person classes.
Morocco suspended school on March 13 and vowed to make access to remote education available for all students across the country for the remainder of the 2019/2020 academic year.
The Ministry of Education launched remote classes, with some schools using social networks and software to deliver classes, including Zoom, Whatsapp, and more.
However, concerns mounted as not all students had the possibility to join remote classes due to a lack of resources.
Students in remote areas were among disadvantaged individuals to face crisis during the previous season and current academic year, which started in September.
Morocco’s government adopted remote education for the 2020/2021 school year due to an increase in COVID-19 cases, but gave parents the possibility to choose in-person classes for their pupils.
The government vowed that classes will be accessible for all students, with the broadcasting of lessons on Moroccan television channels.
The Higher Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research (CSEFRS) recently published a report about the rate of school drop-outs in Morocco, showing that 431,876 students dropped out of public schools in 2018 without “obtaining school certificates.”
The number represents 78% of students who studied in primary and secondary schools.
Some of the motives behind drop out are poverty and low access to education establishments in rural areas.
The regions of Marrakech-Safi, Tangier-Tetouan-Al Hoceima, Beni Mellal-Khenifra, Rabat-Sale-Kenitra, and Eastern Morocco (Oriental) record the highest drop-out rates.
Drop-outs affected 5.6% of girls in primary school compared to 4% of boys. Boys are more likely to drop out of middle and high schools in rural areas, however.