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Education in Morocco - An Overview

Morocco gained independence in 1956, the Royal Commission for Education Reform fixed the basic principals of Post Independence Moroccan Education.  The basic aim of education reformers was the Arabization of curriculum and faculty, access of education to all at all level, and the unification of disparate educational systems. These education systems incorporated the per-colonial model of instruction at Koranic schools concentrating on Islamic studies and Arabic literature, and a French colonial model that had mainly served the educational requirements of the European minority.

The newly independent Morocco adopted the French educational model and introduced a technical track in addition to a modern track and original track. Definitely, the modern track was a continuation of French education system. French remained the language of instruction. The original track integrated the customs of Koranic-based education, emphasizing Islamic culture and civilization and using Arabic as the language of instruction. The technical track was introduced to create a cadre of skilled workers capable of serving the needs of the rapidly developing state. At the secondary level, all three tracks were modeled on the French system and divided into two cycles culminating in the baccalaureat examination.

In 1959, the Ministry of National Education was formed. The ministry started training of teachers, building new schools and implement government educational reforms. Compulsory basic education was introduced in the early 1960s, and by 1985 enrollments of school-age children had reached 85 percent as compared to 17 percent at independence. Schooling in Morocco is compulsory and free. However rural children still don’t have good access to education.

The basic education in Morocco takes nine years to complete followed by three years of secondary education. The teaching language is Classical Arabic, however in some secondary schools and universities especially in technical departments French is still in use as language of instruction. English is regarded as foreign language; private schools supplies education in English medium.

Basic Education (Enseignement Fondamental)
requires 9 years to complete. Students of age 6 to 15 years attend basic education classes. Basic education is compulsory; the constitution of Morocco makes basic education a fundamental right to people.  Starting from basic education, all levels of education in Morocco are offered on two parallel tracks: the modern track (l’enseignement general moderne) and the original track (l’enseignement originel). The original track (l’enseignement originel) focus on Islamic disciplines, national identity and the sciences, and enrolls far fewer students than the modern track (l’enseignement general moderne).

At the preschool level two times the numbers of students attend Koranic schools than modern schools.  Basic education in modern track is divided into two cycles of six and three years respectively. Arabic is the language of instruction and French is introduced as a second language in the third grade. The first six-year cycle is taught at primary schools (ecole primaire) and students attend class for 28 hours a week. The second stage of basic education (enseignement collegial) is generally taught at colleges (colleges), and students attend class for 33-35 hours a week.

Promotion of a student to the second cycle of basic education depends upon coursework in the sixth grade and the results of a standardized examination (examen normalise) taken at the end of sixth grade. At the finish of the ninth grade, students are assessed on their performance during the school year as well as on their performance on an end-of-year school examination and an end-of-year state examination. Based on the results of grade nine assessments, students are streamed into either the general, technical or professional secondary tracks. Students who successfully complete basic education but do not continue to the secondary level are awarded a Certificat d’Etudes Secondaires.

In the original track, courses work focus on Islamic disciplines, which include Islamic law, Arabic, history, Arab civilization, Islamic thought and philosophy, and sciences. The scheme of studies is comprises of two basic education stages: a first cycle of four years duration, and a second three-year cycle, which is also open to children who have completed the first cycle of the modern track. The weekly workload is between 27 and 41 hours depending on the study discipline and course workload.

Secondary Education (L’Enseignement Secondaire)
in Morocco takes three years to complete. Students after successful completion of nine years of basic education are offered admission into secondary schools. Two tracks are available at this level: general and technical leading to the baccalaureate or the vocational track leading to the award of professional qualifications.

Vocational Studies
are available to students who have completed at least grade six and passed an entrance examination. These students can enter a two-year program leading to the award of the Certificat de Formation Professionnelle. This level of training is known as specialization. Vocation courses are also available at higher level and as upper level of studies.

Post Secondary education
i.e. education through universities / colleges is available to students after successful completion of Secondary level education at Bachelors’ level. Universities also impart training at Masters’ and Doctoral Level, or Post Doctoral Level.
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