The new unified status for Ministry of Education employees “responds to a number of demands, but our trade union movement has not achieved all its objectives”, said Mohamed Nouiga, Deputy General Secretary of Morocco’s SNE-FDT education union.
Approved by decree by the Moroccan Government Council on 26 September 2023, the unified status is the cornerstone of the agreement signed between the public authorities and the unions on 14 January 2023. It will mobilise an additional 9 billion Moroccan dirhams (€800,000,000) per year by 2027, increasing at a rate of around 2.5 billion Moroccan dirhams (€230,000,000) per year as of 2024.
In an interview dated 6 October 2023, published in the online news outlet La Quotidienne, Mr Nouiga began by pointing out that “the new status for employees of the Ministry of National Education is the result of a concerted effort by the Ministry and the four most representative education unions to work as partners”.
The union leader further stressed that the SNE-FDT considered the new status to be a very important achievement and that it represents a new way of regulating the careers of retired public education employees. He also welcomed the agreement to conduct periodic reviews of the status “whenever necessary and as soon as there are any dysfunctions or shortcomings”.
Significant positive change
According to Mr Nouiga, the most significant results achieved include:
- Access to the “off-scale” category for more than 200,000 public employees who were deprived of it under the 2003 regulation, enabling 72,000 of them to be promoted over the next four years.
- The inclusion of technical assistants and administrative assistants into this status, mainly classified at scale 6 or 8, with the possibility of incorporating them into scale 9.
- A significant increase in allowances for inspectors, associate professors, and educational administrators.
- The creation of a new framework for teacher-researchers with PhDs working in the sector.
- Promotion by degree (master’s) according to the specialisations requested.
- The preservation of previously acquired rights.
- Horizontal promotions, allowing public employees to change category and move from one body to another through training, after passing the entrance examination.
- The introduction for the first time of an incentive system in the sector, with an annual bonus of 10,000 Moroccan dirhams (€915).
Welcoming the fact that, under this unified status, 140,000 teachers will be tenured as of 2023 and eligible for promotion according to their pay scales, with retroactive effect over the last five years, Mr Nouiga also referred to the situation of contract staff, which was the subject of a lengthy discussion within the Technical Committee on Education. The Committee members agreed to abolish the 12 academy statuses and adopt a single status, with requirements applicable to all employees and stemming from the civil service law: “We see this achievement as the first major gain of the new status, given that all educational and administrative staff will be grouped under a single system, which is an improvement on their current situation and a substantial leap forward from the starting point in 2016, which constituted an attack on employment in the sector.”
Regarding certain categories of staff – qualifying secondary school teachers, guidance and planning counsellors, teaching associates recruited at grades 7, 8 or 9 – the union leader nevertheless recognised that “unfortunately, the government approved this decree without taking into consideration the demands sent by the four unions to the Ministry before the meeting of the Government Council, and this has given rise to discontent. We know that not all the demands can be met 100%, but it is the Ministry’s duty to resolve all these issues as quickly as possible.”
Mr Nouiga concluded by stressing that “financial constraints must not be an obstacle to improving the material and social conditions of education workers, as this is the main pillar of the education system reform”.
The SNE-FDT’s demands are in line with those of Education International’s campaign, “Go Public! Fund Education”, which is an urgent appeal to governments to invest in public education, a fundamental human right and a public good, and to invest more in teachers, the most important factor in achieving quality education.