Morocco is home to one of the oldest universities in the world, al-Qarawiyyin, but it is at the same time a poor country where many have never had the chance to learn to read. When it comes to education, like much else, the gaps between city and country are wide.
Due to increased investment in education in recent years, both attendance at school and literacy have increased, but the figures are still worse than in the rest of North Africa. Almost three quarters of Moroccan adults can read.
- COUNTRYAAH: Country facts of Morocco, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
Around half of the children attend preschool between four and six years of age. The compulsory schooling formally applies from the age of six, for nine years. About 90 percent of children complete at least the first six-year stage, compared to just over half at the turn of the millennium. The children who are forced to leave school early are mainly girls and children in the countryside, where there is often a long way to go to school. Some children are forced to leave school early to contribute to the family’s living.
After the nine-year compulsory school follows a three-year high school which has both theoretical and vocational branches. A little over half of the children go to high school.
Alongside the general, “modern” education system, there is at all levels an “original education” focused on Islamic law, Qur’anic studies, Arabic history, science and more. Only a small minority of students attend these schools, which are, however, considered important to strengthen national and regional identity. Most schools in both systems are state and fee-free. At higher stages there are private alternatives.
At independence in 1956 all teaching took place in French. Nowadays, teaching takes place in Arabic, except in certain courses at the upper secondary level and in higher education, when French is used. Since the mid-1990s, Berber languages have also been used in schools in certain areas; During the 2010 century, Berbiska was given the official language.
Higher education is characterized by the French heritage. There are both state and private universities, as well as a host of other colleges. The Islamic University of al-Qarawiyyin (also called Karaouine) in Fès, founded in 859, is considered the oldest in the world.
Lack of teachers is one of the problems that has been noticed. Especially younger teachers are employed on poorer terms, which has led to public protests (see Calendar).
- Andyeducation: Introduction to education system in Morocco, including compulsory schooling and higher education.
FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
96.8 percent (2017)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
69.4 percent (2012)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
17.3 percent (2009)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
17.3 percent (2009)
Terrorism behind the murder of tourists
A Danish and a Norwegian woman are found murdered at a popular hiking trail in the Atlas Mountains. Moroccan authorities seize three men as guilty and soon term the murder as an Islamist terrorist act. Within a couple of weeks, 20 suspects, including a Swiss national, are believed to be detained on the same terrorist cell. The last jihadist attacked on tourists was in 2011, when 17 people lost their lives in Marrakech.
UN agreement on migration, with drop-off
The UN’s first global migration agreement is signed at a meeting in Marrakech. However, not all countries intend to participate in the cooperation that is the basis of the agreement. The US and Australia stand outside as well as EU countries such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic and Austria. The goals of the framework – created after the crisis that the large migrant flows created in Europe 2015 – are to establish legal and safe ways to migrate.
High-level meeting on Western Sahara
In Geneva, Switzerland, representatives of the Moroccan state and the liberation movement Polisario are on site for talks on Western Sahara, at the UN’s initiative. Neighboring countries Algeria and Mauritania have also been found. Three foreign ministers and the Speaker of the Sahrawi National Council, their parliament, participate. This is the first time since 2012 the UN has had a similar meeting. The aim is to start regular negotiations on the future of Western Sahara, which has been occupied by Morocco since 1975 (see October 16).
High-speed train on the Atlantic: a flagship on rails
Africa’s fastest rail link is inaugurated in Tangier by King Mohammed VI and France’s President Emmanuel Macron. They take the train along the Atlantic coast to the capital Rabat; the trails continue to Casablanca (see October 16). France is responsible for half the construction cost, through loans to Morocco. The Alstom Group, which supplies the TGV trains in France, is one of the companies involved. The trains will be traveling at a speed of 320 km / h – faster than the new high-speed trains between Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, note belated voices in Morocco.
The Pope should visit Morocco
The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis will visit Morocco in March 2019 at the invitation of the King and of the bishops. He will be the second pope to visit the country. John Paul II made a visit in 1985, which was historic because it was the first time a pope was invited by a head of state and not by local religious leaders. Better relations between the Christian world and Islam is a subject of Francis’s priority, he has visited several Muslim countries. In Morocco, there are about 27,000 Catholics, according to Vatican media.
Breed blocks problems around abandoned mines
In the former mining town of Jerada in the Northeast, five people have lost their lives in mining just in the past week. The breed often occurs in abandoned zinc and lead mines, where hundreds of diggers are trying to find coal that it can be legal to sell. The authorities want to close all abandoned mines and in April launched an initiative to try to create replacement jobs. The collapse of the mining industry has led to repeated demonstrations. On November 15, 17 protesters, already arrested in March, are sentenced to prison terms.
Tourists are warned about rabies infection
A British tourist has died in rabies after being bitten by a cat in Morocco. Tourists are urged to be cautious, although the number of cases has decreased. The Moroccan Department of Health states that 15 cases were registered in 2017, compared with 34 cases in 1985. Rabies is caused by a virus, which causes very severe cerebral inflammation. There is a vaccine, and even those who are not vaccinated can be treated with the vaccine shortly after bite. Most often, the infection is spread by loose-running dogs. In Europe, bats are believed to pose a certain risk of infection.
High speed train tracking
A train tracks north of Rabat and seven people lose their lives while 125 are injured. The train must have kept a speed well above the permitted and the train driver is suspected of neglecting to the death of another. The state railway company ONCF has been the subject of popular protests several times in recent years. Traffic disruptions, especially delays, occur, among other things, because work is underway on a high-speed rail line along the Atlantic coast between Tangier and Casablanca. Five months after the derailment, the injured driver is sentenced as guilty, but he is released immediately after the months he has already served.
The UN makes a new approach to solving the Western Sahara issue
UN-led talks on the future of Western Sahara will take place in December. Like the governments of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania, the police guerrilla has accepted an UN invitation. Morocco maintains that negotiations should be based on a proposal for Western Saharan autonomy within Morocco, while Polisario demands that Western Saharans should have a referendum on independence. When the UN got into a ceasefire between Morocco and the Polisario in 1990, a promise of referendum that was not fulfilled was included.
Disappeared after being released to Saudi Arabia
The case of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who disappeared at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, causes another disappearance to be noticed by the newspaper Le Monde: in 2015, the Saudi Turki bin Bandar bin Muhammad bin Abd al-Rahman Al Saud disappeared after being released from Morocco. He had sought asylum in France. Moroccan authorities claim that it was an ordinary extradition procedure based on suspicions of crime and tried in court.
Young domestic helpers are protected by new law
A new law comes into force to protect girls in housework. A minimum age of 18 years and a minimum wage are introduced. Employees must have at least one day off per week and an annual leave. The employer risks fines if the rules are not followed. According to individual organizations, which have argued that many are used ruthlessly, up to 80,000 girls under 15 were employed as domestic help in 2010.
Sharp shots against migrants
The Navy opens fire on a migrant boat whose driver refused to obey orders. A young Moroccan woman loses her life and several countrymen are injured. On board the boat there are about 25 people with the Spanish crew included. The driver is arrested. Moroccan authorities state that human smugglers have started using fast-moving boats of a type that have been used most often by drug smugglers.
Military duty for women and men
Twelve years after the military service was abolished, the court announced that it would be reintroduced. Both women and men between the ages of 19 and 25 must serve for one year, according to the proposal which is now to be debated in Parliament; once the law is passed, the service becomes voluntary for women. Students and toddlers are exempt, as are people with medical barriers. Debaters have noted a parallel with the year 1966, when military service was first introduced. At that time, as this year, the decision had been preceded by a wave of demonstrations and concern that a large part of the young generation lacked employment.
New law aims to protect women against sexual violence
Morocco’s first law against sexual violence and harassment comes into force. The law prohibits forced marriage, but it does not criminalize rape within the marriage. Moroccan media regularly report abuse of women. Twelve men are suspected of group rape in a current case that has raised the temperature of the debate.
Facts of hunting for human smugglers
Authorities report their efforts against human trafficking: 74 criminal networks have been breached, 230 suspected smugglers have been brought to justice and 1,900 boats have been seized since the beginning of the year. In total, 54,000 people who have entered Morocco unauthorized must have been prevented from continuing towards Europe. No action has been taken against migrants. According to the IOM, 35,000 migrants have managed to reach Spain at the same time.
Reef activists pardoned
The king has pardoned 188 activists linked to the opposition movement al-Hirak al-Shaabi, who conducted a protest wave in the Rif region in 2016-2017, human rights activists say. The decision of grace is announced at a traditional time: the Muslim Great Sacrifice. It has been reported that at least 400 people were arrested in connection with the wave of protest and those now released are believed to have served most of their sentences. When Amnesty summarizes, at the end of 2018, how Rif activists have been treated, it emerges that over 40 people are still incarcerated waiting to have their sentences tried in higher court.
Migrants move south
Migrants in the hundreds are being displaced from places in the north, including Tangier, state local authorities and human rights activists said. They are bused south to Tiznit near Agadir. Most of the migrants come from sub-Saharan countries. This year, 23,500 succeeded in crossing over to Spain; On July 26, more than 600 managed to get into Spanish Ceuta by storming the border fence. Activists believe that forced displacement is now in line with requests from Spain and the European Commission. Spain and Germany have agreed to promote greater EU support to countries such as Morocco, which are affected by migrant flows, to improve their border control.
Protest leaders receive long prison sentences
Nasser Zefzafi, leader of the al-Hirak al-Shaabi protest movement, and three other people are sentenced to 20 years in prison for “planning to undermine state security” (see also May 2017). The judges refer to the unrest in the Rif region in 2016. A further 49 people are sentenced and sentenced to between one and five years in prison and fines. Protesters in the Casablanca court shout slogans as “Long live the Rif” and in the Rif later protest meetings are held. Amnesty International and Moroccan human rights groups question the judicial process and the harsh judgments.
Breaking with Iran because of weapons to Polisario
Morocco breaks diplomatic relations with Iran, accused of using the Lebanese Hezbollah movement to supply arms to the Western Saharan Polisario. Hezbollah rejects the allegations and claims they are due to “foreign pressures”. According to Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Morocco has clear evidence of a collision between Polisario and Hezbollah. Relations between Morocco and Iran are already cool and were resumed by 2014 after several years of interruption (see March 2009).
Morocco threatens to intervene against Polisario
The government says it may be relevant for the Moroccan military to intervene unless the UN and Algeria act to stop the Western Saharan Polisario, which is accused of intruding into a buffer zone in northeastern Western Sahara. Morocco has written to the UN Security Council and the King has spoken directly to Secretary General António Guterres. UN intervention Minurso says it has not detected any military presence in the buffer zone at the city of Mahbes, and Polisario denies any intrusion.
Free Trade Agreement in Africa
Morocco is one of 44 Member States of the African Union (AU) that signs an agreement to set up an African Free Trade Area, AFCFTA.