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Original Re.ViCa entry by Paul Bacsich. Updated to VISCED level and template by by Graham Clarke of Sero and Nikos Zygouritsas of Lambrakis

For entities in Morocco see Category:Morocco


Partners situated in Morocco


Morocco in a nutshell

(sourced from

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country located in Northern Africa. The full Arabic name al-Mamlaka al-Maġribiyya translates to "The Western Kingdom". Al-Maġrib (meaning "The West") is commonly used.

It has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Algeria to the east, Spain to the north (a water border through the Strait and land borders with three small Spanish enclaves, Ceuta, Melilla, and Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera), and Mauritania to the south via the Western Sahara territories (which have unclear legal status).

It has a population of nearly 32 million and an area just under 447,000 square kilometres (173,000 sq mi).

Morocco is the only country in Africa that is not currently a member of the African Union and it has shown no interest in joining. However, it is a member of the Arab League, Arab Maghreb Union, Francophonie, Organisation of the Islamic Conference, Mediterranean Dialogue group, and Group of 77. It is also a major non-NATO ally of the United States.

Morocco is a de jure constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco, with vast executive powers, can dissolve government and deploy the military, among other prerogatives. Opposition political parties are legal, and several have been formed in recent years

Morocco is divided into 16 regions and subdivided into 62 prefectures and provinces. As part of a 1997 decentralization/regionalization law passed by the legislature, sixteen new regions were created.

Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive powers, including dissolving parliament at will. Executive power is exercised by the government but more importantly by the king himself. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the two chambers of parliament, the Assembly of Representatives and the Assembly of Councillors. The king can also issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. Parliamentary elections were held in Morocco on 7 September 2007, and were considered by some neutral observers to be mostly free and fair; although voter turnout was estimated to be 37%, the lowest in decades. The political capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca; other large cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Tangier, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes and Oujda.

Every Moroccan speaks at least one of the two languages Berber and Moroccan Arabic, as a mother tongue. Both languages have regional dialects and accents. Most Moroccans practice Sunni Islam and are of Arabized Berber and Berber stock. Arab-Berber comprise about 99.1% of the Moroccan population.

Education in Morocco

Education in Morocco is free and compulsory through primary school (age 15). Nevertheless, many children – particularly girls in rural areas – still do not attend school. The country's illiteracy rate has been stuck at around 50% for some years, but reaches as high as 90% among girls in rural regions.

Morocco allocates approximately one-fifth of its budget to education. Much of this is spent on building schools to accommodate the rapidly growing population. Education is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 13 years. In urban areas the majority of children in this age group attend school, though on a national scale the level of participation drops significantly. About three-fourths of school-age males attend school, but only about half of school-age girls; these proportions drop markedly in rural areas. Slightly more than half of the children go on to secondary education, including trade and technical schools. Of these, few seek higher education. Poor school attendance, particularly in rural areas, has meant a low rate of literacy, which is about two-fifths of the population.

Morocco gained independence from the French in 1956 and since then the Government of Morocco has embarked to implement comprehensive reforms in education and technical vocational training. Despite facing economic challenges in the 1990s and early 2000, the government continued concerted efforts to improve overall educational landscape. In 2006 the expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP was 5.5 percent, higher than the education expenditure as a percent of GDP for Arab countries, such as, Oman, Kuwait and Egypt.

Since early 2000s the gross enrollment rates have been rising steadily for all levels of education. Completion rates at the primary level have increased from 57.8 in 2004 to 61.7 percent in 2006. Despite this improvement, Morocco’s education system needs to tackle gender disparity at all levels, high dropout and repetition rates especially at primary and secondary levels, and increased pressure on the higher education to absorb the rising number of secondary graduates. Throughout Morocco, female illiteracy rate is higher than men's. They reach 83 percent in rural areas, even 90 percent in some communities. Morocco is ranked 130th in Human Development Index (HDI). It has an adult literacy rate of 52 percent in 2004. Although education completion and enrollment rates have improved, the possibility of achieving the MDGs for Morocco is uncertain.

The government has taken several reforms to improve the access of education and reduce regional differences in the provision of education. The King announced the period between 1999–2009 years as the “Education Decade”. During this time the government’s reform initiative focused on five main themes to facilitate the role of knowledge in economic development; the key themes were education, governance, private sector development, e-commerce and access. Also with the help of World Bank and other multilateral agencies Morocco has succeeded to improve the basic education system.

In Morocco the education system offers the following three tracks:

  1. The Modern track, which is the continuation of the French system
  2. Original track, which is the Koranic teachings
  3. The technical track, to have skilled workforce.

The education system in Morocco is composed of pre-school, primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Government efforts to increase the availability of education services have led to increased access at all levels of education. Morocco’s education system consists of 6 years of primary, 3 years of lower-middle / intermediate school, 3 years of upper secondary, and a tertiary education. The education system in Morocco is under the purview of the Ministry of National Education (MNE) and Ministry of Higher Education and Executive Training. The Ministry of National Education decentralized its functions to regional levels created in 1999 when 72 provinces were subsumed into 16 regional administrative units. Then the responsibility of the provision of education services has been slowly devolving to the regional level. This decentralization process will ensure that education programs are responsive to regional needs and the budget is administered locally. Each region has a Regional Academy for Education and Training and a regional director who is senior to provincial delegates within the region. The regional academies will also be responsible for developing 30 percent of the curriculum so that it is locally relevant. The central level of the MNE continues to manage the other 70 percent. Also the Delegations are charged with providing services for education in their regions.

Schools in Morocco

Pre-primary level Pre-primary education is compulsory and available from ages four to six. Private kindergarten institutions are found mainly in the cities and towns, while Koranic preschool is more widespread, teaching reading and writing skills. According to the National Charter, preprimary education is compulsory and available to all children under the age of 6. This level is open to children of ages 4–6 years old. There are two types of pre-primary schools in Morocco: kindergarten and Koranic schools. The kindergarten, which is a private school that provides education mainly in cities and towns; the Koranic schools which prepare children for primary education by helping them develop basic literacy and numeracy skills. Koranic schools have the potential to become a major force in the fight against illiteracy, with approximately 80 percent of all children attending some form of Koranic school for some portion of their school years. In 2007 the gross enrollment rate of pre-primary students in Morocco was about 60 percent, with the GER of males being 69.4 percent and that for females 49.6 percent. The GER for females have been increasing since the past few years and for the males it has been about 69 percent since 2003.

Primary level The primary education consists of 6 years for children of ages 6–12 years old. Students are required to pass Certificate d'etudes primaries to be eligible for admission in lower secondary schools.

The gross enrollment rates (GER) at the primary level have been consistently rising in 2000s. In 2007 the total GER at the primary level was 107.4 percent, with 112 percent for males and 101 percent for females. But the Gender parity Index for GER was 0.89, which shows that the issue of gender inequality persists at the primary level. The repetition rate at the primary level is 11.8 percent; the repetition rate for males at the primary level is 13.7 percent and for females it is 9.7 percent and the rates are declining for the past few years for both gender .The dropout rates at the primary level in 2006 was 22 percent. Also dropout rates are higher for girls than boys, with 22 and 21 percent respectively. The dropout rates have been falling since 2003,but the government still needs to step up efforts to lower dropout the rate as it is still very high compared to other Arab countries, such as, Algeria, Oman, Egypt and Tunisia.

Secondary Level Secondary education is divided into two sections, starting with the premier cycle d'education secondaire, lasting four years. Those successfully completing the primary cycle advance to either the three-year secondary cycle, deuxième cycle secondaire, or to technical or vocational schools. There are three years of lower-middle school. This type of education is provided through what is referred to as the "College". After 9 years of basic education, students begin upper secondary school and take a 1-year common core curriculum, which is either in arts and science. First year students take arts and or science, mathematics or original education. Second year students take earth and life sciences, physics, agricultural science, technical studies or are in A or B mathematics track. The gross enrollment rate at the secondary level in 2007 was 55.8 percent. But in secondary education the grade repetition and drop-out rates especially remain high. Also the gender parity index for GER for secondary was 0.86 in 2007; it is not better than other Arab countries and reflects considerable disparity in gender enrollment at the secondary level.

Further and Higher education

Morocco has more than 48 universities, institutes of higher learning, and polytechnics dispersed at urban centres throughout the country. There are 14 public universities and many private institutions.

Universities in Morocco

Morocco has about 230,000 students enrolled in 14 public universities. Four are of particular note.

  1. The Mohammed V University in Rabat - the country’s largest university, with branches in Casablanca and Fès
  2. Al-Akhawayn, a private university founded in 1993 by King Hassan II and King Fahd of Saudi Arabia, is an English-language American-style university comprising about 1,000 students.
  3. The University of Al Karaouine, in Fez, is considered the oldest continuously operating university in the world and has been a center of learning for more than 1,000 years.
  4. The Veterinary Institute in Rabat, which conducts leading social science research in addition to its agricultural specialties

The page gives a longer list:

  1. Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Tétouan - Tanger
  2. Al Akhawayn University, Ifrane
  3. Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech
  4. Chouaib Doukkali University , El Jadida
  5. Hassan II Ain Chok University , Casablanca
  6. Hassan II Mohammedia University , Mohammedia
  7. Hassan Premier University , Settat
  8. Ibn Tofail University , Kenitra
  9. Ibnou Zohr University , Agadir
  10. Mohamed Premier University , Oujda
  11. Mohammed V University, Rabat
  12. Mohammed V University at Agdal, Rabat
  13. Mohammed V University at Souissi, Rabat
  14. Moulay Ismail University , Meknès
  15. Sidi Mohamed Benabdellah University , Fez
  16. University of Al Karaouine, Fes
  17. Université Moulay Slimane (formerly called Cadi Ayyad University until late 2007), Beni Mellal

A number of universities have started providing software and hardware engineering courses as well; annually the academic sector produces 2,000 graduates in the field of information and communication technologies.

Moroccan institutions have also established partnerships with institutes in Europe and Canada and offer joint degree programs in various fields from well-known universities.

Polytechnics in Morocco

Colleges in Morocco

Education reform

Since the late 1980s the Maghreb countries’ governments are partnering with civil society organizations to fight illiteracy. The NGO Programme launched in 1988 delivers literacy to 54% of all learners enrolled in adult literacy programmes. Ministerial and General Programme also focus on various ministries and community to deliver literacy programmes. In-Company programmes cater to the needs of the working population focused on continuous in-company training. A comprehensive renovation of the education and training system was developed in a participatory manner in 1998-99, which led to the vision for long-term expansion of this sector in response to the country’s social and economic development requirements.

Improving the quality of outcomes in the education sector has become a key priority for Morocco’s government. To overcome the challenges faced by the education sector, the Government embarked on a comprehensive reform of the education and training system, with the promulgation of the 1999 National Education and Training Charter (CNEF). The CNEF, with strong national consensus, declared 2000-2009 the decade for education and training, and established education and training as a national priority, second only to territorial integrity. The reform program, as laid out by the CNEF, also received strong support from the donor community. Nevertheless, during the course of implementation, the reform program encountered delays.

Furthermore, Morocco and other Maghreb countries are now fully committed to eradicate illiteracy. Morocco officially adopted its National Literacy and Non-formal Education Strategy in 2004.An integrated vision of literacy, development and poverty reduction was promoted by National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), launched by the King Mohammed VI in May 2005. Also in 2005 the Moroccan government adopted a strategy with the objective of making ICT accessible in all public schools to improve the quality of teaching; infrastructure, teacher training and the development of pedagogical content was also part of this national programme.

There are a number of donors including USAID and UNICEF that are implementing programs to improve the quality of education at the basic level and to provide training to teachers. The World Bank also provides assistance in infrastructure upgrades for all levels of education and offer skill development trainings and integrated employment creation strategies to various stakeholders. At the request of the Government’s highest authorities, a bold Education Emergency Plan (EEP) was drawn up to catch up on this reform process. The EEP, spanning the period 2009-12, draws on the lessons learned during the last decade. In this context, the Government requested five major donors (European Union (EU), European Investment Bank (EIB), Agence française de développement (AFD), African Development Bank (AfDB) and World Bank to assist the implementation of the EEP reform agenda.

Administration and finance

Quality assurance

Also to increase public accountability, Moroccan universities are evaluated since 2000, with the intention of making the results public to all stakeholders, including parents and students.

Information society

ICT in education initiatives

The King announced the period 1999-2009 as the “education decade.” The government focused on five key themes that are important for facilitating the role of knowledge in development and for the effective use of ICTs: education, governance, private sector development, e-commerce, and access. These themes formed the basis for the national strategy for ICT development and together were called the e-Maroc plan.

As a result of the enabling policy of the government to spread the use of ICT in all aspects of life in Morocco, a liberalisation and privatisation policy in the telecommunications sector led to the reduction of telecommunications cost and resulted in a rise in the number of cyber cafés and access to computers and Internet, even in small towns. Currently it is estimated that there are 4.6 million Internet users, which represents a 15.2% penetration rate in the population and a 4.5% growth rate since 2000.

Virtual initiatives in schools

Virtual initiatives in post-secondary education

The Moroccan Virtual Campus

The Moroccan Virtual Campus launched in 2002 aiming to link the various e-learning projects within Moroccan universities, enabling students to choose their study location and time, and to create greater knowledge access. [1] [2]

The report Development of the E-Learning in Morocco gives some useful pointers:

Despite numerous technical and publishing challenges, distance learning ((involving some e-learning)) is gaining momentum in Morocco in both the public and private sectors. Short-term forecasts show that 15% of private companies\’ training budgets will soon be dedicated to distance learning programmes.

The increased availability and functionality of information technology (IT) has brought new teaching tools to the Moroccan market, including mobile phones, video-conferencing, e-mail, discussion forums, chat software and document sharing.

Open and/or remote learning (formation ouverte et/ou à distance, or FOAD), provides flexible training opportunities to individuals, businesses, and government bodies. Training packages can be tailored according to individual or collective needs and electronic resources can be accessed from anywhere. Because classrooms are virtual, students can study at their own pace and teachers can instruct and assess on a flexible schedule.

An increase in the number of government-sponsored FOAD projects suggests a general shift towards the greater use of IT in the training sector. Morocco's finance ministry recently decided to integrate a dedicated distance learning service into its organisational structure. The Ministry of National Education has begun work on an interactive television system (TVI) which aims to provide remote training for teachers across the Kingdom.

Since 2006, Abdelfadil Bennani, President of Ibn Zohr University, has led a particularly ambitious project to create a Virtual Moroccan Campus. The campus aims to pool the resources of e-learning programmes throughout the university system, with the ultimate goal of developing full remotely-provided courses of study at the vocational, undergraduate, and graduate degree levels.

Despite the growing popularity of e-learning in Morocco, it is still in its infancy. For Radouane Mrabet, a teacher and researcher at the National School of Information Technology and Systems Analysis (ENSIAS), FOAD’s slow progress in the country can be explained by the exorbitant costs of developing training platforms and modules. "Even when these two major stumbling blocks are overcome, organisers must be prepared to bear the cost of tutors to provide support and remote supervision to trainees," he added.

So far, the private sector is best equipped to handle those costs. "Businesses are starting to fund distance learning for their employees," remarked Said Tahrir, Managing Director of the Moroccan subsidiary of business-training firm Formademos. Many large international corporations have already begun to provide their employees with virtual training modules that complement conventional training already in place.

Training centres have not been blind to these developments, and many have made a marketing push to capture the e-learning market. Formademos has launched two Masters programmes aimed at university graduates with at least one year of work experience. One programme offers a degree in "education and employment systems technology", and the other program offers a degree in business administration.

Lessons learnt


> Countries

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