Is Moroccan Government Going Towards a Systematic Privatization of Education

Fez – The past few months witnessed open boycotts of studies at all faculties of medicine all over Morocco which led to massive demonstrations against the compulsory service issued by Minister of Health Houcine El Ouardi. Thousands of medical students gathered in front of the Ministry of Education and the Parliament in Rabat. Fortunately, the government ended up cancelling the compulsory service, and the students succeeded in their cause.Apparently this is a year of revolution, and the streets of Rabat continue to be filled with huge protests. Since the beginning of November, trainee teachers at all Moroccan Regional Centers of Education and Formation (CRMEF) centers in Morocco have been boycotting both courses and practicum trainings in response to the two decrees issued and supported by the government and the Ministry of Education. Thousands of trainee teachers mobilized in an initial march on November 12, in which all of the CRMEF centers took part.These boycotts have been taking place as a reaction against two ministerial decrees declared by the Minister of Education Rachid Belmokhtar. Decree 588-15-2 separates training from recruitment; trainee teachers will have to pass another final examination after the exit exams in order to be selected and appointed to a position. Prior to the announcement of these two decrees, teacher trainees would be appointed right after finishing their training at the centers. Now, with the requirement to go through various examinations in order to get jobs, it is as if these teacher trainees are not qualified enough, despite the fact that they went through pre-selections, written and oral exams to enroll at the CRMEF centers. The other decree, 589-15-2, reduces the scholarship amount to MAD 1200, just half of the MAD 2450 per month trainees used to receive, which was already insufficient given their social and economic conditions. Photo credit: Noureddine LaaguidiOn December 17, 2015, teacher trainees went out in an unprecedented march that again took place in Rabat, starting from Bab Elhad and leading to the Ministry of Education and the Parliament. This time more people participated in the march; it is estimated to have included 25,000 teacher trainees, faculty students, doctors and more importantly the trainees’ families who joined and supported the protests.This is a national cause and concerns the entire educational system. It is all about public school and the masses that have only the public school. If public schools are ever privatised, it will only worsen the status quo of education in Morocco, which already suffers from serious issues that no one single emergency plan of reform could fix.The march was interrupted by a baton charge from the police at the beginning and at the end when they prevented trainees from gaining access to the train station. These violent and illegitimate interventions call into question the very materialization of the right of protesting stated in the Constitution as a legitimate right for every citizen. Is it transparent on the part of the State to react in this undemocratic way against gatherings of people who cause no turmoil and are only calling for their fair rights?Photo credit: Noureddine LaaguidiMembers of the National Commission of Trainee Teachers publicly declared that the cause of trainee teachers will continue and their boycotts will remain open as long as their demands are not given due consideration and response.Photo Credit: Noureddine Laaguidi. Edited by Esther Bedik© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission

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