Morocco’s RNI Calls for Parliament to Ratify Education Bill Quickly

pupils at a Moroccan kindergarten in the city of Fez, Moroco at Photo Credit: Morocco World News

Rabat – The National Rally of Independents (RNI) has called on the government to speed up the voting process for draft Law 51.17, which seeks to make French the language of instruction for scientific and technological subjects in Moroccan schools.

RNI, a member of the government coalition, issued a statement after a meeting of its political bureau, chaired by its secretary-general, Aziz Akhannouch, on Friday, in which the RNI expressed support for the proposed law.

The party’s members said that the draft law is a fundamental reform of Morocco’s education system, emphasizing that it will ensure equal opportunities for all Moroccans.

RNI’s political bureau also called for the government to adopt “living languages” in the teaching of scientific subjects, alluding to French. Currently, science is taught in standard Arabic.

In the meeting, the party said that their position is not questioning the indisputable importance of Arabic and Tamazight (Berber), Morocco’s two official languages as stated in the Moroccan Constitution.

Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi said that the vote on the framework law on education was postponed due to lack of consensus.

In a Facebook post, the minister said, “Unfortunately, the consensus reached on the proposed amendments for the third time was lost and the vote was postponed for a later date.”

The minister has strongly defended the draft law.

Read Also: Moroccan Coalition: Ditching Arabic in Schools for French Is a Crime

Amzazi said the draft law is in line with the Strategic Vision for the Reform of the Moroccan School launched by the Higher Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research in 2015.

Amzazi argued that “some subjects should be taught in a foreign language.”

While RNI supports the draft law, the opposition Al Istiqlal (Independence) Party and the Islamist ruling party, the Justice and Development Party (PJD) emphasized the importance of preserving Arabic, as an official language in Morocco, in Moroccan schools.

A member of Al Istiqlal and former minister, Mohammed El Khalifa, said that the battle of people who defend the Arabic language is a “battle of existence, which will last forever.”

In the 1970s, the Independence Party urged the government to Arabize the educational system.

El Khalifa added that French is like any other language “trying with all its might to impose its presence in the countries that it colonized.”

The PJD former Head of Government Abdelilah Benkirane called the members of his party to vote against the bill.

Benkirane said that the bill is a serious “betrayal of the principles of the [PJD] and the Constitution and its vision.”

Recently, the National Coalition for Arabic Language has been campaigning against the draft law, calling on the government to abolish any action that would remove Arabic from Moroccan schools.

The coalition also launched a petition against the draft law, which generated 1,810 signatures.