Morocco’s Ministry of Education and the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) have signed an agreement to make preschool education compulsory.
Preschooling, which benefits children aged four to six, is currently not mandatory in Morocco and children can join primary schools without completing preschool.
The decision to make preschool education compulsory seeks to encourage parents to enroll their children in the institutions. Moroccan preschools provide basic education, allowing children to develop their social skills and better prepare for primary school.
Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi and ICESCO Director-General Salim bin Mohammed Al-Malik signed the agreement on Monday, December 28.
During the signing ceremony, Amzazi urged preschool owners to provide their employees with at least minimum wage and all necessary benefits, such as medical insurance.
According to the Moroccan Center for Political Research and Analyses (CEMRAP), there are currently more than 23,000 preschools in Morocco, providing basic education for nearly 700,000 children.
The vast majority of preschools in Morocco, however, are privately-owned institutions that are relatively unmonitored by the education ministry. After preschool becomes compulsory, the ministry is expected to become more involved in supervising the services the institutions provide.
In addition to preschool education, the recently-signed agreement concerns four other axes.
It seeks to facilitate the inclusion of students with special needs in the education system. The agreement also provides for the preparation of new pedagogical, governance, and equity models for Moroccan educational institutions.
The Ministry of Education and ICESCO are yet to share further details about how they will practically implement their agreement.