After the ministry of education and vocational training issued a circular banning teachers from teaching extra private lessons, the issue becomes a matter of debate. Everybody; including teachers, parents, students and university graduates; is seeing it from a different perspective.
The ministry of education claims that the issued circular is meant to insure an equal footing for all Moroccan students. The ministry believes that teachers consider public schools as break lounges following an exhosting half-a-day teaching session in private institutions. The ministry also believes that many teachers force their students to join their paid private lessons, even though the law in Morocco bans all public sector employees from undertaking lucrative work.
University graduates, on the other hand, think that every citizen has the right to work and that public school teachers monopolize the private lessons market. “If the teachers continue to give private lessons, we, university graduates, would resort to begging,” a friend declared.
For some students and their parents, taking private lessons is both a must and a right as far as the public school fails miserably to meet its objectives. “If our schools lack pedagogical materials and sufficient teachers, how one could believe that the ministry aims to provide equal opportunities?” a parent wondered. This group believes that there is still a huge discrepancy between the public and private sector, as while the first is congested, the latter is not.
Banning teachers from giving private lessons adds salt to the injury of some parents. The insufficient school hours consecrated to some subjects, added to overcrowded classes, hinders students from understanding the course material. As a result, parents resort to private lessons. As far as they do not feel secure in sending their children to untrained graduates students, they should pay more to afford domestic lessons.
For teachers, all the proclaims of the ministry, like providing equal opportunities, and enforcing the law is nothing but a bla bla. They believe that they are targeted for unknown reasons. Otherwise why does the government closes its eyes on other public employees who undertake lucrative work?!
In my opinion, no one cares about nurses and public sector technicians giving private lessons in biology and physics, whereas people turn in spasm when teachers do the same. I am not intending to attack my colleagues from other sectors. I am just trying to shed light on the double standardness witnessed in my beloved country.
We are taught in training centers to do our best to meet the students’ needs, but how a man whose needs are not met could cater for others’ needs?!
I am not seeking excuses for teachers who abuse their students to join their paid extra lessons, nor am I by the same token attacking other sectors’ employees. I am writing to say enough of the double discourse. I am writing to emphasize that any educational reform is only possible when the status of teachers is considered, and above all, when the teacher is cherished and respected.