The hashtag comes in response to the security approach contractual teachers faced during a protest in Rabat on Monday.
Rabat – Public figures, activists, students, and teachers are expressing support for and solidarity with contractual educators after Monday’s protest in Rabat.
The online solidarity hashtag is going viral, with thousands of people sharing posts with #protect_teachers_in_Morocco.
Hundreds of teachers from across Morocco’s regions rallied in Rabat on Monday, calling for their engagement in the public sector.
Footage online shows security services dispersing protesters using violence against teachers. Videos viral online also show a man with civilian clothes resorting to violence and kicking teachers, who were peacefully walking during the protests.
Morocco opened an investigation to identify the man, with many people sharing the videos and his photos.
Footage online also shows several teachers fainting, with netizens condemning the presence of anti-riot police during the protest.
Despite the breakup of the protest, the contractual teachers are determined to continue their “battle” to ensure equality.
The contractual teachers’ case dates back to 2016 when the ministries of education and finance signed a joint agreement to hire educators under contract.
Before the outbreak of protests, teachers were calling on the Ministry of Education to engage in talks and dialogue to find solutions for their cases.
The ministry and educators’ unions met in several dialogue meetings, but teachers were not satisfied with the alternative solutions.
Imane M., who is one of the contractual teachers, spoke to Morocco World News today about Monday’s protest and their demands.
The teacher, who could not attend the protest on Monday, said she has joined in the past.
“I had a family commitment, but I participated in many protests before.”
The teacher, who is a Fez native and works in Tangier, called the situation “unfortunate,” saying that many of her colleagues were subject to violence and arrests on Monday.
“Our demands are simple. We are only seeking our legitimate rights as teachers,” Imane M. told MWN today in a telephone call.
The teacher said she and other contractual teachers were forced to sign the contract because they had no alternative for job opportunities.
The teachers working under contracts described themselves as “forcibly contracted” educators.
“The difference between a contracted teacher and those working in the public sector is huge,” she claimed.
Teachers under contracts are not allowed to take exams to evaluate their improvement, which could allow them to move to a higher pay grade.
Contractual teachers’ wages range between $500 and $540 per month.
When teachers take to the streets to protest, regional academies impose financial penalties.
“When we are absent from classes, deductions make our salaries smaller. Sometimes, the deduction makes our salary lower than $400. How can someone renting a house live this salary? Some of us send money to their families,” Imane said.
The contractual teacher said that teachers’ unions are studying the possibility of public strikes.
“It could be an open strike, and we don’t know when that may end,” she said.
Teachers working under contracts will only receive 40% of their monthly salary after retirement.
Those working under contracts are also the responsibility of regional academies rather than the Ministry of Education.
But Imane M. said the ministry should bear responsibility and find a solution for their dossier.
Protests impact students
The situation of teachers impacts not only the education system but also students.
2019 marked many protests, which left students without classes for several weeks.
A student who spoke to MWN under condition of anonymity for personal concerns denounced the situation in a statement.
The student emphasized that the issue directly affects their academic and career prospects.
“I am a baccalaureate student and the absence of teachers from classes will have a huge impact on my future since we are facing final exams at the end of the year,” she said.
The student also expressed solidarity with her teachers, sharing the #protect_teachers_in_Morocco hashtag.