Education International
Education International

Morocco: Schoolgirl publicly humiliated by education minister

published 24 March 2013 updated 24 March 2013

On 22 March EI has filed a complaint with the UN Envoy for Global Education against Mr Mohamed El Wafa, Morocco's Minister of Education.

In the morning of 5 October 2012, on World Teachers' Day, El Wafa visited the El Azouzia primary school in the suburbs of Marrakech. ln the course of his visit, he and his entourage entered a classroom occupied by fifth-graders (children aged 11-12). As the children stood to attention, the Minister walked up to young Raouia Ayache, who looks slightly older than her age, and said to her 'You! Your time would be better spent looking for a husband!' Raouia felt humiliated.

From that day onwards, schoolmates started making fun of Raouia and pointing fingers at her. She stopped going to school. lt is only after intervention from the local chapter of the Moroccan Human Rights Association (AMDH, Association morocaine des Droits de l'Homme) that she agreed to return to class.

Raouia's father was very angry and asked for an apology from the Prime Minister. The local chapter of AMDH wrote to the Prime Minister to condemn the Education Minister's action and issued a statement to the national media.

A member of the Moroccan Parliament raised the issue during question time. The Education Minister confirmed the words he had spoken to Raouia and said that he had not meant to humiliate her. Raouia, who comes from humble background, remains traumatized, and the Moroccan education community is still outraged.

As no measures were taken against the Education Minister, who is still in place and could at any moment repeat such actions, EI has reported the incident to the UN Envoy for Global Education.