Generalizing the use of English in Morocco SOON!

Last week, the Ministry of National Education, Preschool and Sports issued a circular addressed to teachers and educational managers in public schools, in particular college-level establishments, announcing the start of the generalization of English at public college level, from the start of the next school year. The language of Shakespeare will be introduced progressively in the first year of secondary school, followed by the second year in 2025 and the third year in 2025-2026. 

 Although interest in English in education is not new and dates back to 2014, when the Ministry of Education introduced the International Baccalaureate-English option alongside the French option, the Ministry’s decision to generalize English in middle schools has been very well received by those involved in the education system and parents of students.  “
We welcomed this news with great enthusiasm. 

 English is the world’s lingua franca, and it would be regrettable if Moroccan pupils didn’t know how to communicate in English”, commented Mehdi Haidar, sociolinguist and professor-researcher at the Faculty of Education in Rabat. He also pointed out that this change of direction should not be perceived as a replacement of French by English. For, in his view, “the French language remains the language of business, science and technology, and still has a role to play in Morocco for historical and socio-economic reasons”. 

 The Fédération nationale des associations des parents d’élèves du Maroc (National Federation of Moroccan Parents’ Associations) was equally enthusiastic about this major project, speaking on behalf of 
its president Noureddine Akkouri. For him, teaching English as a second foreign language at secondary school, alongside French, is an important step towards consolidating equality of opportunity between state and private school pupils. The latter, it should be remembered, have been learning English in schools since the first year of primary school. 

 However, despite the optimism surrounding this project, the players in the education system note that the roll-out of the process of generalizing this language in the Kingdom’s secondary schools is coming up against a number of structural difficulties, something that requires large-scale mobilization.  

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