Education in Morocco: A Turning Point

Education in Morocco: A Turning Point



Since education has been such a hot topic in the news lately, and has caused such a rift in the Moroccan society, I decided to discuss differences I have seen in the educational system in Morocco versus the educational system in America. The Moroccan educational system is unbalanced and inferior in many ways. The output of this system is the huge numbers of young people who are unemployed or underemployed. As a matter of fact, the most educated of the youth have the highest rate of unemployment according to the The Harris School of Public Policy (University of Chicago, “Youth Transition to the Labor Market in Morocco” May 2014).

Education in Morocco is overwhelmed with challenges and difficulties that will require quite a radical overhaul of the system if any help is to be had for it. The Ministry of National Education must review its current practices if Morocco is ever going to be able to succeed in a 21st century global economy.  The Ministry must examine the lack of human resources available in education, specifically the lack of qualified individuals available to teach students. The Ministry needs also to stop employing so-called teachers, people with degrees in all but the education field, to teach students when that “teacher” is unable to properly teach Arabic or French or even math!  Our students need and deserve teachers who know how to teach them; teachers who receive regular professional development and training on current best practices in teaching; teachers who are expected to re-certify and remain on top of their training so that our students receive the best education possible. The Ministry must also take a look at the lack of decent structures and facilities available for students in Morocco.  How are students supposed to study and learn in facilities that are inadequate?  Morocco’s Ministry of National Education must examine its pedagogical goals for students; what kind of citizens does Morocco want in its future? What do the students need to know and learn in order to fulfill the needs of the country?  The education system needs to more closely follow the market for jobs, not just crank out university graduates that have no marketable skills. These are the questions that need to be asked, and then answers and solutions should be implemented if Morocco is ever going to head in the right direction on this issue.

What I have seen in America is focused in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Education there is built on the competencies of academic excellence, creative problem solving, and social emotional learning. It is believed that these competencies are skills that students will need to thrive in the 21st century. The school systems work within a framework that outlines expectations for staff and students to guide them toward the goal of reaching these competencies. Teachers receive their degrees in education by applying to accredited universities with teacher education programs. University students must choose a content area in which they would like to teach (i.e., elementary education, math, English, or science). After they receive their degree, they are required to pass content and pedagogical exams in order to receive a certification to teach; after which they must apply and conduct interviews for teaching positions. And it does not stop there. Teachers are evaluated on a regular basis and are required to participate in professional development and trainings in order to maintain their certification. In short, Teachers are held accountable for what their students learn.

When comparing these two methods of teacher preparation, it is glaringly obvious why Morocco’s education system is in need of a revamp…. The current educational situation in Morocco puts poor families at a huge disadvantage because they are unable to provide their children with extracurricular support. This also contributes to Morocco’s high unemployment and low high school completion rate. By not providing our students with competent and qualified teachers, we are breaking Article 13 of Morocco’s 1996 Constitution which states, “All citizens shall have equal rights in seeking education and employment.”