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Moroccan union: ‘Education Reform Bill is a political liquidation of state funded education’

July 25, 2019 at 1:42 am

A teacher and his students in Casablanca, Morocco [henskechristine/Flickr]

One of the five most prominent education sector unions in Morocco says that a new Education Reform Bill, which allows for teaching some subjects in French, is the “political liquidation” of state-funded education.

This came in a statement issued by the National Office of the Democratic Labour Confederation’s National Education Union (education sector union), according to Anadolu Agency.

The Moroccan House of Representatives (the First Chamber of Parliament) approved on Monday, which is one of its articles allows teaching certain subjects in French.

In its statement, the union said that “the Moroccan state, government and ruling parties are politically responsible for passing the law.”

The statement added that the current government has entered: “a new phase in the formal process eliminating the state-funded education system. The government intends to establish employment contracts, in addition to endorsing the tendency to marginalise and privatise the education sector starting from primary to higher grades.”

The union renewed its absolute rejection of the bill while alluding to its “lack of legitimacy and public approval.”

The union demanded that the government “withdraw this law due to its serious implications on public education and the future of the country.” It also demanded that the House of Representatives be held responsible for “sabotage” through projects aimed at “dismantling the rest of the public service.”

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Article 2 of the Education Reform Bill, “the adoption of linguistic rotation […] by teaching certain subjects, especially scientific and technical ones, or parts of some subjects in a foreign language or more.”

The Education Reform Bill is still a controversial matter in Morocco. So much so that Abdelilah Benkirane, former Moroccan Prime Minister, declared that he might leave the Justice and Development Party (JDP), after it approved the law.

On Saturday, Idris Azami Al Idrissi, head of the JDP parliamentary bloc, resigned from office.

In earlier statements, Moroccan parties and associations criticised the adoption of French only in the teaching of several subjects instead of English, although the bill provides for teaching in foreign languages without specification.

In its fifth chapter, the Moroccan Constitution stipulates that “Arabic is the official language of the State. The State works for the protection, development and promotion of the Arabic language. Likewise, Tamazight [Berber/Amazighe] constitutes an official language of the State, being the common heritage of all Moroccans without exception.”

Following the House of Representatives’ approval of the reform bill in a public session, the new law will be referred to the House of Counsellors (the second chamber of parliament), and then published in the government Gazette to enter into force.