Morocco’s Ministry of Education has denied rumors that in-person education in Morocco will be suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement published on Sunday, January 31, Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi condemned the people sharing the fake announcement and attributing it to the ministry.
The rumors surfaced on Sunday after a fake document, bearing the logo and the stamp of the education ministry, went viral on social media.
The false announcement suggested that the ministry will close all schools and universities and suspend in-person education until a later date because of the epidemiological situation in Morocco.
The fake document was based on an official announcement from March 2020, when Morocco closed all schools to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The only modifications in the false document were dates.
A trained eye could easily recognize the different font used for the dates, compared to the rest of the text. However, with Moroccans still unaccustomed to fact-checking, the fake document quickly spread through social media and instant messaging applications.
The rapid spreading of the fake news, which came as students were preparing to regain their classes after a one-week vacation, prompted a response from the Ministry of Education.
“The ministry categorically denies issuing any communication [about the suspension of schools], and reminds students and families that studies will resume on Monday, February 1, 2021,” Amzazi wrote.
The minister also urged citizens to verify the veracity of documents through checking official sources.
“All the statements issued by the ministry are published on its electronic platform and its official pages on social media. Otherwise, they are fake news,” he stressed.
Amzazi concluded by warning that the ministry has the right to file a legal complaint against the individuals who fabricated the document and promoted the fake news.