The confusing roadmap

The reform of the national education system looks like an endless project. Indeed, each supervisory minister aims to build it to his own taste by shaving what his predecessor did.

Chakib Benmoussa is no exception. He has just concocted his own vision of reform which wipes the slate clean of previous reform plans. This is a new roadmap which aims to achieve three main objectives: establishing compulsory education, ensuring the quality of basic education and promoting openness, fulfillment and citizenship.

Through these three objectives, the ministry seeks to reduce by a third the school wastage which currently causes the departure of 33,000 pupils annually and to increase to 2/3 the number of children who succeed in their studies, i.e. the percentage of pupils who currently have difficulties in their studies. It also aims to increase the number of pupils benefiting from parallel activities to half by exceeding the current number estimated at a quarter.

Presented to the Economic, Social and Environmental Council on Wednesday, this roadmap revolves around three axes: the student, the teacher and the school. Regarding the axis related to the student, the ministry emphasizes an education capable of training students “open-minded and mastering basic learning.

Regarding the teacher component, the ministry aspires to make teachers “open, fully committed to student success, trained and valued”. As for the axis related to the school institution, the goal remains to make these establishments “modern, offering a safe environment conducive to the development of students”.

For Jamal Akchbab, teacher, the education sector has always been a field of experimentation with new pedagogical programs, plans and others. “At the beginning, there was the national education and training charter (1999/2008). The drafting of this charter was based on a broad consultation of all components of society (Parliament, political parties, trade unions, etc.) and the allocation of significant funds. However, it failed to achieve the expected objectives,” he reminded us.

And to continue: “Afterwards, there was the implementation of the emergency program (2009/2012) which did not yield convincing results either, despite the guarantees given and the enormous budget devoted to this system. This program was canceled with the stroke of a pen by the former Minister of National Education, Mohamed Louafa, who officially declared the failure of this program. The latter would be replaced by the Strategic Vision 2015/2030 whose future is today uncertain with the roadmap of the current Minister of National Education who intends to reset the counters to zero”.

Our interlocutor believes that the new roadmap does not offer anything innovative since its components have already been tested. Worse, he wonders about the usefulness of launching consultations on the new model of the national school precisely in this period of preparation for the exams and wonders why to raise such a debate since the question of diagnosis and discussion on the model put in place has been debated a thousand times and tons and tons of reports, studies and books have been produced.

“Why are we seeking to further diagnose our national school and why propose new recipes when there is the Fiftieth Anniversary Report, that of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research (CSEFRS) and the Court of Auditors?” he wondered.

Jamal Akchbab is categorical. According to him, no reform will have the chance to succeed in the current conditions of our system in the absence of fundamental conditions, educational programs with overcrowding of classes, the state of educational infrastructure, etc. For him, there is no course or clear vision and all the reforms are marked by too much improvisation and anarchy.

“Take the case of the Regional Academies of Education and Vocational Training, designed as public establishments with territorial powers equivalent to those of the regions and which adapt to the new territorial division. Today, these institutions turn out to be empty shells since the decision still emanates from the center and without taking into account the specificities of the regions. Such is the case today with the decision to postpone the date of the exams to July when certain areas such as the South have to deal with high temperatures which are around 50°. Today, in Zagora, the teachers give lessons in classes where the temperature already reaches 45°”, he underlined.

According to him, many teachers today want to leave the ship. They are tired of taking responsibility for the failure of the education system and waiting for reform that never comes. “This all the more so since their vision of reform has never been taken into account. Many of them are waiting to complete 30 years of service to take early retirement,” he told us. And to conclude: “The reform of the education system should not be the sole business of the heads of departments of the central administration in Rabat. It is everyone’s business (families, political parties, trade unions, civil society, press, etc.). Our country does not lack intellectuals, pedagogues, experts in psychology and education and who also have their say”.

Hassan Bentaleb