The regional director of the World Bank is confident that Morocco is on the right track to reducing “learning poverty” in the country.
Rabat – Representatives of the UK and the World Bank signed an agreement in Rabat on Wednesday to help Morocco improve its education system.
The British Ambassador to Morocco, Simon Martin, and the Director of the World Bank in the Maghreb, Jesko Hentschel, signed the agreement on education, teaching, training, and scientific research. It includes a loan of MAD 2.6 million (£217,000).
With the agreement, the UK and the World Bank commit to providing technical assistance to Morocco as it works to improve the national education system. The parties aim to address the disparity in education that emerged during the COVID-19 crisis.
The agreement also comes to promote the recruitment of qualified teachers on the basis of demonstrated academic, emotional, personal, and behavioral skills.
The technical assistance the agreement outlines includes teacher selection and training, a collaborative approach to design performance contracts, and a communication and change management strategy.
The agreement comes after Hentschel expressed in October the World Bank’s readiness to support Morocco in implementing education reforms. The reforms fall under framework Law 51.17 relating to the system of education, training, and scientific research.
Morocco’s Education Minister Saaid Amzazi called the agreement “commendable,” thanking the UK and the World Bank for their confidence and support.
He said COVID-19 has had a significant impact on education in Morocco, but added that the crisis offers an opportunity to accelerate the process of reforming and digitizing the education system.
Ambassador Martin agreed, saying that the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the global need for education to be “adaptive and flexible.”
“The British Embassy is delighted to support the reform of education in Morocco in this way,” he said. “The UK government strongly believes that quality education is a fundamental lever for any society, and it is vital that all parts of the education system work together effectively to tackle learning poverty.”
The British ambassador added that his country is interested in improving bilateral cooperation with Morocco in the field of education.
Amzazi said it is important to focus on human capital throughout the educational reform process, describing teaching as a noble profession. Hentschel echoed this view, raising the importance of teacher training in strengthening the learning process.
The World Bank official said the technical assistance Morocco is set to receive will make it possible to assess the level of students and learning methods in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the Moroccan education system.
“At this critical juncture, our aim is to put in place levers for ongoing reforms aimed at improving the performance of the sector,” said Hentschel.
He is confident that “well-targeted interventions focused on at-risk children could accelerate the country’s goals to universalize preschool education by 2027 for children aged 4 and 5.”
With enough support, Morocco is on track to “reduce learning poverty and increase accountability throughout the service delivery chain through cutting-edge, evidence-based approaches.”
Morocco has a stack of loans from the World Bank, with several notable agreements concerning education.
In June 2019, the World Bank announced a $500 million agreement in support of Morocco’s 2015–2030 Education Reform. The global banking institution aims, in particular, to improve preschool education in Morocco.
“This support is timely and essential for Morocco’s reform program,” Amzazi said of the latest agreement.
“The COVID-19 pandemic amplifies the pre-existing weaknesses of the education system, but despite this difficult context, the education system remains an absolute priority for the Moroccan government.”