The minister also addressed the COVID-19 development among students and schools across Morocco.
Rabat – Morocco is working to improve access to education in rural areas, Education Minister Saaid Amzazi said Monday during a session at the House of Representatives.
Reviewing the results of the implementation of Law No. 51.17 relating to the education, training, and scientific research system in the previous academic year, he said Morocco has made several achievements towards the generalization of education and ensuring equity at the territorial and social levels.
He said that the focus of the framework program under Law No. 51.17 was to improve preschool education by accelerating its generalization and improving quality. The rate of preschool enrollment in Morocco is 72.5%.
Amzazi said the ministry expanded educational, vocational, and university offerings in response to the growing demand for schooling and access to universities and training institutes.
A total of 179 new school facilities were created for the start of the 2020-2021 school year, including 110 in rural areas with 15 new community schools.
The ministry also announced that 11 new boarding schools have been set up, including 90% in rural areas. Remote areas are the most affected by school dropouts for several reasons, including poverty.
A report from the Higher Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research (CSEFRS) last year said that 431,876 students dropped out of public schools in 2018 without obtaining school certificates.
The report said that the number represents 78% of students who studied at primary and secondary schools.
Amzazi said that 13 new vocational training establishments opened in 2019-2020. The minister vowed to strengthen the vocational training system with 17 additional establishments and eight boarding schools.
Amzazi also announced that the ministry seeks to consolidate human resources management through the recruitment of 15,000 senior academics for the year 2019-2020 to reach a total of 100,000 executives.
The minister vowed that his department is working to implement the axes of the new roadmap for the development of vocational training. The project aims to “promote a qualitative leap in this area, in particular through the creation of Cites des Metiers et des Competences with the opening of the first cities in September 2021.”
COVID-19 in schools
Amzazi said on Monday that the education and health ministries identified a total of 13,619 cases of COVID-19 among students, teachers, technical, and administrative personnel in Morocco.
He added that the infection rate does not exceed 0.06% among students and 3% among educational, administrative, and technical staff.
The number of schools closed since the start of the academic year reached 468, including 107 private schools that host 270,000 students.
Morocco suspended schools in March 2020 after the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, adopting remote education methods.
The country encouraged remote learning for the 2020-2021 academic year but provided parents and students with in-person education options.
Morocco is still struggling to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control. The Ministry of Health reports thousands of COVID-19 cases and dozens of deaths daily.
To date, Morocco has confirmed 381,188 COVID-19 cases, including 6,320 deaths and 334,269 recoveries.