Morocco aims to get every child into pre-primary education

Morocco Preschool Children 1
Children play with colourful blocks at an early childhood development centre in a rural village in Morocco (UNICEF / Pirozzi)

Early childhood development, Right to education

A 10-year plan to enrol 730,000 extra students will require 55,000 new teachers and 57,000 additional classrooms.

Only half of children in Morocco go to pre-primary schools – and in rural areas it’s as low as a third.

But the government has launched an ambitious national programme to lift enrolment in early education to 67% by 2021 and to get every child in pre-primary within a decade.

“Our future won’t wait,” said Education Minister Said Amzazi as he announced the news on a so-called “national day for pre-primary education” earlier this month.

Almost 730,000 young children in Morocco are currently missing out on early years education.

Theirworld has been campaigning for every child in the world to have two years of free, quality pre-primary education – and for countries to spend a minimum of 10% of their education budgets on pre-primary.

By their fifth birthday, a child’s brain will already be 90% developed and the foundations for success at school and in later life will be in place.

The Moroccan plans to get every child in pre-primary education will need 57,000 extra classrooms and 55,000 more teachers.

The programme – launched in partnership with UNICEF and the Fondation BMCE Bank – will kick off at the start of the 2018-19 school year. It will involve 100,000 additional students being enrolled – with an emphasis on rural areas – 28,000 teachers trained and 4000 new classes opened.

A third of Morocco’s pre-primary schools are private – but they have only one in six of the students because their class sizes are smaller.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI of Morocco had called on his cabinet to introduce measures to improve education. 

Morocco Preschool Children 2

Only half of children in Morocco go to pre-primary schools (World Bank)

He said: “Early years education enables children to acquire mental and cognitive skills and abilities that ensure smooth access to learning and success in school.”

After the pre-primary announcement, Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani said the public school system should not be underestimated, adding: “Education is our special concern, we are proud of it.”

According to Amzazi, while nearly 62% of children are enrolled in primary school, only 24% are in secondary school.

Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign and our work on early childhood development is supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

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