There are several reasons why there is no difference between Morocco and Djibouti as far as education is concerned. One is that the Moroccan ministry of education, like the Djiboutian one, deprives Moroccan teachers of many rights. For me, as for others, disregarding the teachers’ rights while preparing to reform the education system means one of the most serious problems Moroccan teachers suffer from has not been fixed yet.
It’s common-knowledge that teachers are a basic component of all education systems. That’s why it’s highly recommended to consult them while thinking of updating an education system. I can say with confidence that the failure of almost all reforms Moroccan education system has undergone so far is due to the fact that the Moroccan ministry of education did not ask teachers for comments and observations before starting to implement those reforms. For instance, Moroccan teachers were not asked for feedback on the Education Emergency Plan till the ministry put it into effect. As a Moroccan teacher, I still have not understood why the ministry did not ask teachers for feedback before the application of the Emergency Plan. Possibly, the teachers’ opinions, for the ministry of education, are of minor importance when it comes to reforming the Moroccan education system.
The ministry of education not only ignores the teachers’ feedback when introducing a new education reform, but it also does not organize training-sessions to make them familiar with the new reform. In other words, most teachers can’t use new teaching approaches and methods unless they were trained to employ them in class. This is the reason why most Moroccan teachers are still using outdated teaching methodologies. One day, I was invited by a middle school teacher of English to observe one of his teaching sessions, and provide him with some feedback. I was shocked to observe that the teaching method the teacher used had nothing to do with Competency-Based Approach (CBA). When I asked him why, he said that he heard of the approach, but had never been trained to apply it in class. I provided the teacher with a number of English language teaching (ELT) Web sites from which he could download videos and documents on CBA, and also advised him to try to attend some ELT conferences and seminars in order to update his teaching skills and techniques.
The teacher, to my surprise, did not live in the village he worked in. The village is about 40 kilometers far from the centre of the city. He decided to live in the city and every day commute to and from work, for the apartments the ministry built near the school were not sufficient for the big number of teachers who came from far-away places, and who were appointed to work in the village. It every day cost the teacher almost forty dirhams to commute between the city and the workplace. That means half of his salary was spent on commuting to and from work. Therefore, it’s impossible for such a teacher and many others to pay so as to attend seminars and conferences whose main purpose is providing teachers of different subjects with up-to-date teaching methods and approaches. As far as I know, commuting to and from work has deprived a large number of teachers of English of attending some ELT conferences such as the one organized each year by the Moroccan Association for Teachers of English (MATE). It’s too expensive for teachers who spend half of their salaries on commuting between home and work to pay 1000 dirhams to attend the MATE conference.
After two months, I received an e-mail from the teacher I observed saying he was among the teachers at his school who were selected to attend a three-day training organized by the delegation of the ministry of education. I was not surprised to learn later on from the teacher that they boycotted the training due to the poor food and accommodation the delegation provided for the teachers who came from the suburbs to attend the training. I was not surprised simply because middle school teachers of English at the city where I am working boycotted in 2008 a three-day training for the same reason.