Morocco governing council adopts first framework law on education
CASABLANCA - The Moroccan governing council adopted Thursday the first framework law in its history that regulates the malfunctioning education sector as free public higher education is coming to an end.
Secretary of State for Higher Education and Scientific Research Khalid Samadi said that "this is a great moment for Morocco, which since independence has failed to agree on the legal principles that should govern our education system."
Successive governments have tried to reform the education sector for several decades, but in vain.
Former Education Minister Rachid Belmokhtar declared in 2015 that 76% of Moroccan children could not read or write after four years of primary school.
The text includes the recommendations of the 2015-2030 vision of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research (HCETSR). It adopts the recommendation related to the principle of solidarity in the financing of the education system, particularly in higher education and high school.
In 2013, King Mohammed VI founded HCETSR in a bid to overhaul the education system. Two years later, the council developed a vision for the 2015-2050 period aimed at improving the moribund sector.
The 36-page framework law will have to go to the Council of Ministers and then to Parliament for approval in order to be effective.
"We will finally have a binding law for ministers and they will be assessed on its basis," said Samadi.
The draft bill calls for the generalisation of education, linguistic diversity, the fight against school dropout, reform of the orientation system and advocates the creation of a special fund for low class families which cannot afford to send their children to school.
However, some articles in the draft bill have sparked anger and among Moroccans and criticism by the media, saying that the era of free higher education for all was over.
Article 42 refers to the diversification of funding sources, with the participation of all stakeholders, including the "wealthy families". Article 45 mentions the gradual introduction of registration fees (and not tuition fees) in institutions of higher education and then in high schools.
Government spokesman Moustafa El Khalfi said on Medi1TV that only well-off families who would be affected by it, but could not specify the income threshold that would be concerned.
But the majority of middle-class families have deserted public education despite the high costs of private schools.