A Decade for Education: Raising literacy rates in Morocco

Literacy Reform
In the late months of 1999, the Moroccan government came face to face with a huge problem; its nation’s education system had reached an all time high in gender disparity, and dropout rates. This, combined to a severe lack of leadership, had lead to increased exodus of skilled workers, and threatened to bring the Moroccan market to its knees, and as 1999 came to a close, action was more necessary than ever. The government responded by launching possibly its most successful enterprise to date, the “decade for education.” From 2000 to 2009, education was established as a national priority; equity was established, investments were made, and educational infrastructure was rebuilt.

Thirteen years later, Morocco’s education system is as successful as ever. Enrollment rates have almost doubled, and the gender gap has been narrowed to just 3.5 percent. In the last year alone, more than 735,000 Moroccans have benefited from literacy and education programs established during the Decade of Education, a record in Moroccan history.  In fact, Morocco’s reforms have been so successful that last year UNESCO awarded Morocco honorable mention for the 2012 UNESCO Confucius Prize, given to nations who show outstanding improvement in advancing literacy rates.

The Education reforms have centered on rebuilding the infrastructure of Morocco’s education system, and allowing for greater access, especially at the lowest levels. Between 10,000 and 40,000 teachers were trained every year and several NGOs were instructed in project management. The Moroccan government closely monitored these trainings, maintaining a solid standard throughout the country. The result, a rise in primary education rates from 52.4% to 98.2%.

Recently, World Bank lent its hand toward continuing the progress made in Morocco, offering a $100 million loan to support the policies of the education reform. After receiving a report from its Sector Team, World Bank has decided to deliver yet another $100 million finance to Morocco in efforts to finish the job that has been started.




10 responses to “A Decade for Education: Raising literacy rates in Morocco

  1. I totally agree with the author, education is the most powerful weapon. In order for Morocco to keep up with the literacy rate, the government need to keep investing in their youth. This is one of the thing that United State need to learn from Morocco. As we all know, American are more into entertainment; in now society, most of the young adults don’t watch news or read newspaper anymore. Which I believe is very sad.

  2. Alyssa Michelle Brideweser

    This post was a good read! Education is more important than ever in this day and age and Morocco recognized this, deciding to target their faulty education system directly and make a change. It is amazing how all their hard work, including rigorous hours of training teachers and rebuilding the system as a whole, paid off overtime. In just thirteen years, they were able to tremendously raise their education rates from 52.4 percent to 98.2 percent, double the enrollment rates, and tighten the gender gap significantly. This shows that if a country recognizes a problem and is dedicated to fix it, anything is possible. It was also neat to read how the World Bank recognized Morocco’s efforts and gave a great deal of money to support their efforts in reforming the education system. If a country shows motivation and fortitude for a brighter future, others will be inspired and more inclined to help out in the cause. The children of Morocco may not recognize it, but they are extremely fortunate because this education system reform opened endless possibilities for them in their lifetime and gave them the opportunity to learn more about the world around them. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.” This is exactly what Morocco did; they sought change and struggled and fought for it.

  3. This is amazing. An entire country dedicated a decade to education. Morocco seemed to be in very serious trouble. Having all the educated people leave their home country left the poor and uneducated citizens to fend for themselves. There need to be a solution and fast. I think it was an fantastic decision to fix the root of the problem an start with the uneducated population. This solution obviously worked. The enrollment rate has increased from about 52% to 98% and now there is only a 3.5% gender gap. This is almost on heard of in developing countries. Morocco has set a good example for other developing countries

  4. Paige Kathleen Whiteley

    Education is one of the most vital components in life. I once read an article that stated education, especially of women and children, was the source that would fix many world problems such as world hunger and diseases like HIV/AIDS. When people are educated, many of the poor conditions such as crime, hunger, disease, etc. become less prevalent in a country. When a country lacks the means or desire to fully educate its people, especially children, there are so many problems that arise as a result. Therefore, it is good to see that the literacy rate in Morocco has increased over 45% in 13 years. I hope the country’s leaders continue to make education a priority because, if so, the country will thrive more than it has in years.

  5. We must educate our young people for the best possible outcome of the future. We take it for granted here in the United States that if we ever need to learn something it’s there, whether it be through schooling or individual research. On that note, teachers in this country aren’t paid enough for the job they do. They work their rears off trying to prepare the next generation and they get absolutely no thanks for it at all. Loved the article.

  6. The backbone of a nation is its ability to educate the youth and continue to educate them past grade school. In order Morocco to prosper they need to continue to raise literacy rates. In order for this to continue the government will need to continue to spend money on its youth. I definitely agree with this article. Education is key for a country.

  7. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

    I am very supportive of Morocco’s recent attempt to build their education. Given Morocco’s rocky history and iffy media structure, education will help guide everything in the right direction; whether it takes months or years. The Moroccan government needs to make it a priority to train teachers appropriately. The first step would be planning a good teaching agenda and to test it out on students to see their reaction. Also, given the rise of technology within the media landscape will help teachers with a teaching agenda, giving them a place to start.

  8. Hannah Elizabeth Zell

    I couldn’t be more supportive of the efforts Morocco is finally making to improve the literacy of its people. Benjamin Franklin once said during the construction of the Constitution of the United States that “Nothing can more effectually contribute to the cultivation and improvement of a country, the wisdom, riches, strength, virtues and piety, and the welfare and happiness of a people than the proper education of youth.” Any political theorist would agree that a well-informed electorate is essential to any sort of good, functioning political system. It comes as no surprise to me that when educational guidance was at an all time low, the Moroccan market just about collapsed entirely. The future of every country, and indirectly the future of the entire global economy lies in the hands of today’s young people, so it is crucial to prepare all students for citizenship as informed, engaged, and responsible members of society. The Millennial generation, people born between the years of 1981 and 1993, is not only the largest generation yet, but because of the influence of today’s media, a generation with the most diverse and radical views, the most opinionated generation, and the most independent and innovative generation yet. With that said, there has never been a more dire need for knowledgeable leaders to guide this generation and teach us all how to focus the great power that the generation holds in order to make constructive decisions in all government and international affairs.

  9. I agree with the author of this article. Education is very important for sustaining a democratic and civilized community. We take it for granted, however, in Morocco, as I recently read, the enrollment in higher educational institutions is very low (about 3.5 percent of the overall university population is enrolled every year). The problem lies within the educational staff, because the education starts with teachers. I think, in every society there should be a high priority for education teachers, who give further education for students.

  10. Nicola Yuen Lam Law

    Education has always been the most important element in our lives. It is hard for us, college students studying in this fabulous environment, to image a life without education. Due to poverty and cultural issue, children (especially girls) are struggling to be educated. The revolution on education in Morocco is similar to what our country experienced before. Once the majority citizens fulfill the needs of hungry, they move to another level, in which is to be educated. Morocco’s government is not only realized their problems (education and inequality), but also approaches on the right track doubling the national’s educational level. It is amazing to see Morocco’s literacy rate has increased 45.8% in 13 years. Putting effort on education has brought benefits to Morocco, since financing Morocco education meaning to create more job opportunities in the education field, in which help its economics. As the Morocco government trains more teacher, more schools will open to public. Also, as people can read more and understand more, Morocco will also facing an increasing rate of netizens, since people will be more active on Media, especially Internet.

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