Rabat – After months of demonstrations and failed negotiations, medical students have achieved a major victory over the government with the success of a nationwide boycott against annual medical examinations, with the National Commission of Medical Students (CNEM) reporting that no student participated in the exams.
Since March 25, medical students have been waging a campaign against the Ministries of Health and Education, demanding an array of reforms to the medical industry and threatening to continue striking until their demands have been met.
Calling for an end to the privatization of the medical industry and condemning poor medical training conditions are among the 16 principal demands issued by the demonstrators.
In response, the Minister of Education, Saaid Amzazi, has claimed that the majority of the student’s demands have already been met.
“The case file of medical students is composed of 16 points, we have responded favorably to 14 points through the draft agreement, and we are committed to execute them,” Amzazi said.
However, students still feel that their demands have not been fully met and have reiterated that the demands which have been met should have been fulfilled long before protests even began.
“It should also be remembered that the majority of these points do not concern new achievements, but old unfulfilled promises dating back to 2015,” said Hamza Kermane, a member of CNEM-Rabat.
Without a single student completing their exam, the question was raised as to whether every student due to graduate would have to retake their exam next year. The government has been firm in its stance that students who failed to take the exam would be forced to sit it the following year.
“The exam will take place June 10, those who will not attend it will repeat,” Amzazi said.
The minister also condemned the protest’s leadership, arguing that boycotting students were “threatened” by a minority of radical demonstrators.
“The teachers came to monitor and the students did not come. They are under the influence of a group that threatens them, attacks them, harasses them! We believe that this is no longer a matter of pedagogy, but of politics,” Amzazi said.
Though great progress has been made thus far with the protests, the two sides still remain uncompromising on several issues. Meanwhile, should a resolution not be reached soon, the medical industry could potentially face a year with no new graduates to replace the hundreds of doctors who have already resigned this year.