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Millions lost as one fifth of educated Moroccans leave country

Image of Moroccan students in Casablanca, Morocco on 8 October 2013 [Henskechristine/Flickr]
Image of Moroccan students in Casablanca, Morocco on 8 October 2013 [Henskechristine/Flickr]

Seventeen per cent of Moroccans with university degrees are leaving the kingdom for opportunities abroad after completing their education, according to a study by the French Agency for Development (AFD).

This is a growing concern for the government which has allocated billions to provide free education only for large numbers of graduates to leave the country.

In addition to paying no tuition fees, Moroccan students receive around $4,000 per year to help with costs, this increases as they progress in their education.

Though some graduates wilfully choose to leave the country, others are forced out as a result of the high unemployment rates and lack of employment opportunities.

French-speaking countries like France and Canada provide an attractive alternative for many Moroccans familiar with the language and likely to put their degrees to good use.

Read: Moroccan rights group calls for aid for minors attempting to reach Europe

The unemployment rate in Morocco rose to 10.7 per cent in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 0.4 per cent compared to the same period last year. The fall in employment in the public sector has been bolstered by the post-election political deadlock and the subsequent delay in the adoption of the 2017 appropriation bill.

Planned to be adopted in December last year but having failed to be approved by lawmakers, the bill will reportedly create 23,000 more jobs in the public sector but is unlikely to help with the current unemployment rates.

Nearly 1.3 million Moroccans are currently out of work, a rise of 63,000 between the first quarter of 2016 and the same period in 2017.

According to statistics, only 15 per cent of primary school children are likely to graduate from university.

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