The powerful words of the Minister of the Interior, Abdelouafi Laftit, at the inaugural session of the 2nd year of the National Conference on Human Development, informing about the urgent need to create an effective educational model that would guarantee the growth and development of students, thus stopping the scourge of early school leaving.
In Morocco, the health crisis has hit the education sector hard, further exacerbating the already worrying dropout rate. According to statistics presented at the beginning of the meeting, 331,000 children left the school system in the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, school closures disproportionately affect the most disadvantaged students, namely those who do not have the digital tools to allow them to take advantage of distance learning.
The Human Development Forum therefore aims to consider various avenues the Kingdom could take to substantially improve the quality of the national education system. National and international experts were invited to contribute, including Dr Rukmini Banerji, renowned author and executive director of the Pratham Education Foundation, who presented her model used in India to overcome deficits in reading and arithmetic in children who have already had several years of schooling.
For Rukmini, the core of his approach is “that no student should be left behind”, especially since statistically only a minority of children manage to achieve the educational goals set by the education system. According to the same speaker, this is mainly due to the nature of the stated goals, which are often “overly ambitious”.
We often find ourselves with pupils of a certain school age (e.g. 3rd year of primary school) who, however, do not have the prerequisites to study there. “In these cases, in most cases, teachers are forced to rely on the program and work with the brightest students. This increases the risk of early school leaving,” warns Dr. Rukmini Banerji, who recommends that classes be organized by level and not by age.
Convergence of visions
This vision presented by the Indian expert joins the plan announced by the Minister of Education, Chakib Benmouss, which aims to reorganize the school career and the assessment system to ensure the success of every student. In addition, the report on the New Model of Development (NMD), whose commission he chaired, states that the Moroccan school “must set high ambitions for each child and not abandon any of them despite the difficulties they may encounter.
Mohammed Dardouri, Wali and National Coordinator of INDH, shares the same view, noting that it is essential to improve the quality of learning, as a large proportion of pupils face the accumulation of deficits resulting from failed learning. becomes insurmountable over time.
“We have carried out international benchmarking and today we are working on models adapted to the Moroccan context”, noting that the time of traditional methods is over and the INDH is mobilized to support the relevant departments in reforming the sector. “We are experimenting and the prospects look promising at the moment,” says our partner.
Indeed, this new school year has seen the introduction of a series of new features, including the launch of a new tutoring programme. This is called Teaching at the Right Level (TARL). This innovative program will make it possible to correct the reading and numeracy deficits suffered by a large number of students through fun activities whose impact on learning has been scientifically proven in many countries.
According to the Minister of Education, 6,000 teachers will be trained in this method and more than 100,000 students will be able to use it. An initiative that falls within the framework of the great reform project of the Moroccan School, the main lines of which have been laid out by the NMD and the specifics of which can be defined during these national conferences on human development.