The four Moroccan affiliates of Education International have met with the Ministry of Education to highlight ways to ensure quality education and a safe return to class in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic.
On 6 May, Education International’s affiliates in Morocco – the Fédération Autonome de l’Enseignement (FAE), the Syndicat National de l'Enseignement - Confédération Démocratique du Travail (SNE-CDT), the Syndicat National de l'Enseignement - Fédération Démocratique du Travail (SNE-FDT) and the Syndicat National de l'Enseignement Supérieur (SNESup) – met with the Ministry of Education to discuss the reopening of schools and upcoming exams.
The unions used Education International’s Guidance on reopening schools and education institutions to frame the discussions. These guiding principles have been disseminated widely among the unions’ membership and other networks.
The four unions suggested curriculum adjustments and assessment modalities taking into the account the implications of prolonged school closures. They also highlighted that equity issues are of considerable concern in the country.
All four unions emphasised the need for health and safety measures to be taken before reopening schools in consultation with health experts.
They were adamant that, to have a supportive and successful onsite return to schools, teachers and education support personnel must be key actors in both the creation of safe learning spaces and ensuring education continuity. The return to schools should not be at the expense of educators, students, and their families’ health and wellbeing, they explained. In addition, they noted that a return to school will only happen for students in certification years.
The unions presented public authorities with several proposals.
On the grounds of equity, the unions underlined the need to organise and provide remedial courses, and to support disadvantaged learners to fill the learning gap and reduce the negative impact of the prolonged schools closures. This should apply to all, and especially to girls and students with disabilities.
According to the educator unions, those classes should enable educators to assess the needs of students and provide targeted support. And they should not take place outside of educators’ working hours, but rather be scheduled at the beginning of the next school year.
In addition, online education programmes should not replace face-to-face teaching and learning, as teachers providing them are not properly trained and supported to deliver quality online programmes. Also, many students have not been receiving the support they need to follow these programmes for several reasons, e.g. parents working outside the home or illiteracy among parents.
The unions noted that educators and their unions were included in the curriculum revision announced by the Ministry, with the aim of helping to guide this process.
The Ministry of Education has also announced that it will consider amalgamating school curricula.
The trade unions also demanded a review of pedagogical practices.
With regard to assessment modalities, the unions requested that the public authorities announce the method and timing of exams soon, and to include formative assessments grades for all classes, not only exams grades.
The unions said they are in favour of using the multiple-choice questionnaire method for exams, of reducing the duration of exams, timing, and content, and the inclusion in exams of only subjects/themes studied between September 2019 and February 2020.