Education International has lent its support to the first forum of teachers working in rural areas in Morocco, taking part alongside the AOB from the Netherlands and the FETE from Spain.
This initiative of the National Teachers’ Union (SNE-FDT) brought together more than 250 teachers from all rural areas in Morocco to Marrakech on 13, 14 and 15 January 2012.
The forum was intent on having teachers engage in a real discussion about school, programmes, the curriculum, textbooks, teaching conditions, and students. The aim was to come up with proposals that could lead to real solutions to the quality of public schools in rural areas.
As in most developing countries, public services in rural areas in Morocco (605) are deeply disadvantaged, and education is no exception.
Even today, schools in the most remote areas in the Moroccan countryside have neither water nor electricity and often no facilities (classrooms, toilets) either. Students have to walk very long distances to get there, and teachers who have to live in such areas feel totally isolated.
High rate of illiteracy
These situations lead to serious inequalities among the Moroccan population. Over 68% of women in rural areas are illiterate. The rate is as high among children who drop out of school to work. And young people from public schools in rural areas have more difficulties gaining admission to university because their second-level education includes fewer French courses.
The forum participants became aware that it was high time to remedy these differences between town and country and that, in order to do so, all stakeholders in education and even beyond would have to be mobilised.
A radical reform of education in rural areas, the construction of classrooms, canteens, boarding schools, and roads require the commitment not only of the Ministry of Education, but also of the Ministries of Transport, Infrastructure and Facilities, Housing, Youth and the Budget. The Moroccan government must show real political determination to transform its rural schools.
The SNE-FDT members decided to launch an appeal to have education in rural areas in Morocco become a national priority.
EI supports the struggle for equality in education for all students, girls and boys, in towns and countryside throughout the world.