- The district supervisor and not the principal, supervise all the teachers who work in a particular city. This could be a ratio of 100 teachers to 1 supervisor.
- These are the school jobs that do not exist within Morocco – Librarians and libraries (large scale), guidance counselors, school social workers and psychologists.
- During the French Protectorate (1927 – 1957) the French hoped to use the colleges to increase French power over the traditional institutions, the Moroccans hoped to use the schools as a means to gain power within the new fields of French administration and the colonial economy.
- After Morocco gained its Independence in 1956, Mohammed V (Sultan of Morocco) became king. He ruled as king for about 5 years from 1957 to 1961. As king, Mohammed V helped change Morocco into a constitutional monarchy. King Mohammed V died on February 26, 1961
On day 3 we visited the US Embassy, Morocco. We talked to a couple different people, but the most interesting was a discussion about the US-AID (United States Agency for International Development) and their attempts to improve the reading level of students. In some areas of Morocco students who are in grade 3 could not read grade 1 material. The Embassy has hired different companies to help create early reading material for local students. To assist with this there are elected inspectors who gather local stories from families to help create cultural relevant reading material. The Embassy reported 18 out of 100 students who enter grade 1 graduate from high school.
The importance of knowing how to read and graduating from school for any nation is imperative. The effects of illiterate and uneducated citizens can be devastating. Another sad truth – students who are blind or deaf typically do not attend school. At no point are teachers being trained on how to teach students with disabilities. Fortunately, the Lyons club has raised money to operate a school for students with disabilities in Sale, a neighboring city of Rabat.
Another great part of the program was visiting schools around Rabat. This was the beginning of our experience with the school system that we would be working with at our host school.
The structure of the educational system is hierarchical, and controlled by The National Ministry of Education. All decisions regarding subject curriculum, graduation, requirements, school administration and teacher hiring and evaluation is controlled by the national government.
Before we were to visit all of the schools the American teachers needed to be approved by the Ministry, which happened before we arrived to Morocco. Our first school visit was to a Public School: Moulay Youssef High School. This was a nice school, and even had a school building donated by the Lyons Club. We had the chance to sit in on an English teachers classroom, which was the highlight of the school I noticed. The teacher was a musician himself and brought that into his classroom to help teach.
After nine years of basic education, students enter “Upper Secondary Education” for three years. The three years are broken down by the following:
- Year 10) Students are in common core curriculum, which is either in the arts or science.
- Year 11) Students take arts and/or science, mathematics or original education. Original Education – Focuses on Koranic teachings.
- Year 12) Second year students take earth and life sciences, agricultural science, physics, technical studies (trade school), or are in A or B mathematics track (I gathered this is like our honors or regents).
During these public school days the scientific classes are in the morning and the language classes are in the afternoon. Remember Morocco schools run from 8 am – 12 pm and 2pm – 6 pm, with two hours for lunch.
We never visited a private school, but as you would expect the education in private schools is generally perceived to be better. Students will also learn French at an earlier age, which is important for the school system. They will also start to learn English earlier, too. The Ministry also regulates the private schools.
International Baccalaureate School Visit: Abi Dar Alghiffari
This school allows students to graduate with an international Baccalaureate in English. Spanish and French are also an option for some schools.
On day four in Morocco, we went to the University Mohammed the V-Agdel. There was an International Seminar on Curriculum Development, Pedagogy and Integration of information and communication technology (ICT).
I elected to give a presentation at this conference and gave a run down on how our Algebra classes are operated and the improvements that we created to help increase our pass rate on the Algebra 1 Regents. It went quite well and I was happy how it connected nicely with some of the other presentations of the PhD students from Mohammed the V-Agdel.
On day 5 we had a quick visit with the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE). This is Fulbright Morocco’s headquarters. We had the honor of listening to Dr. James Miller, Executive Director, and enjoyed his stories and catch phrases we should memorize for our journey.
From March 10th to March 17th, Carl and I were at our host school Larbi Doghmi High School in Temara, Morocco. In order to make this transition, we had to leave our first hotel and then move to the next one where we would stay for 6 days. We first met our host teacher, Abdellatif, and traveled by car to Temara, which was about 25 minutes away from our hotel in Rabat. The change of cities was not noticeable, and the school was very similar to the other ones we have visited around Rabat. During our time with Abdellatif, we were able to visit each of his English classes at least once. All of our host teachers were English teachers who were International Leaders in Education Program (ILEP) fellows in the United States for six months.
During our time at Larbi Doghmi High School, I had the chance to interview some students and ask questions connected to my research question: Do females and males receive equal opportunity to succeed in Temara, Morocco High Schools? In Ithaca, New York? The responses were quite interesting and really exposed the gap between students who cared about their education and the ones who were not so dedicated, but at least they were/are still in school.
For those of you who have never been to a school in other country, the first time you walk into a classroom you are greeted with respect and gratitude. The students all stand up and welcome you in English.
We had a great time with the students of Larbi Doghmi High School. Carl and I were asked many questions about our home state, school, thoughts on Morocco, and what we liked best about Morocco. The final class we visited was very welcoming and a few students wanted to invite us over for couscous…if we only had another day.
If anything from this blog interests you and sparks some curiosity about Morocco, I strongly encourage you to make the trek. The county is beautiful and there are many friendly people looking to talk with you. In closing, on the second to last day we all gathered back at the original hotel, The Golden Tulip, and wrote down a few things to help us reflect and debrief. Our group came up with a pretty concise statement about the educational system we observed during our two weeks and I would like to share it with you.
“Strict traditionalism in public schools unifies and secures the country and encourages a strong national identity, but also inhibits systemic changes that have been proven elsewhere to address the needs of our ever-changing global community.”
Thank you for reading my blog.
Thank you to Cornell University and Ithaca College for your donations!! The school community we visited in Morocco was very excited to receive these gifts.