UNESCO and Morocco's Supreme Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research have produced a joint report, entitled 'Teaching in Morocco during the COVID era', detailing the challenges that the Kingdom may face in imposing a more digital education. Its main objective is to provide equity for all students and education professionals in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, where education went online.
Although this dossier promises a level playing field and guarantees that students will be able to use and learn from technological material correctly, the nation is not yet ready in this area.
According to the CSEFRS, although the report's intentions are the best, it acknowledges that one of Morocco's main problems, still unresolved, is economic inequality.
The document details that 75% of students in primary education in the country do not have technological means in schools, 53% of secondary school and university students, and an estimated 65% of educational centres do not have a good internet connection within their own premises, with 49% respectively in high schools. The report expresses concern about the resources that are available and teachers and professors have already stressed several times the lack of digital tools that are not available, and that they have asked on numerous occasions to obtain these means. Moreover, within the centres themselves, 38% of primary schools and 32% of secondary schools do not have any projectors in their classrooms, making the situation more difficult.
On the other hand, when the pandemic started in 2020, the government opted to send students home to avoid severe contact during school hours. This led to another problem that could not yet be addressed. The report shows that 60% of teachers interviewed for the report were reluctant to teach subjects remotely.
In addition to these, another concern has been the students. COVID-19, and everything to do with the pandemic, months of confinement, and so on, have had repercussions on the mental health of the younger ones who ended up exposing themselves to immersion levels of study and their own academic performance. This situation was further aggravated by the online lessons and as a consequence, there has been a generalised demotivation on the part of the entire student body. Most of the schoolchildren surveyed did not attend their online appointments during the months of online studies, and only 9% of them managed to achieve a good attendance record.
Although Morocco is in the process of modernisation thanks to laws and plans to be imposed by the new government, the situation of its citizens is very uneven, something that other pre-pandemic reports and analyses have shown. Barriers to internet access are particularly prevalent in the most rural regions or those furthest away from large cities, where the majority of people in these areas have no access to the internet and therefore families are unable to buy devices to enable their schoolchildren to participate in their education. The report details that this situation is one of the most difficult and claims that the relevant authorities are not addressing the issue sufficiently to further eradicate the problem.
The document ends with the conclusion that even after the pandemic and the return to face-to-face schools for the 2021-2022 school year, it is important to spend on student affairs and integrate more digital tools, something the government has been preparing for some time to enable Moroccan education to be modern compared to some more prepared countries.
To this end, several ways are suggested for Morocco to enter into more technology-enabled education. The first of these is to address the need for teachers and academic staff to be trained in the more technical aspect and, above all, to have at their disposal the necessary material for their training. It is also important to teach students how to use this technology and how to access it, which will lead to a reduction of inequality in the student field.