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2007-04-04

New Moroccan initiative seeks to reduce school dropout rate

By Sarah Touahri for Magharebia in Rabat -- 04/04/07

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The State Secretariat for Literacy and Informal Education launched an initiative last week to draw up a comprehensive roster of children who have dropped out of school. The initiative is part of an awareness campaign targeting parents. Dropping out is a serious problem in Morocco, as each year nearly 200,000 children withdraw from school before completing their primary education.

Researchers and government officials largely attribute the phenomenon to the ignorance of poor parents who do not realise the importance of education. Noureddine Hraiche, president of the Association for Reform and Development, says that some parents withdraw their children from school due to the competing demands for household income which often require children to work.

El Hbib Nadir, the government’s Director for Literacy, told Magharebia that drop-out rates are higher among children of illiterate parents. "The same social pattern repeats itself," he said. On a more optimistic note, he suggests, "The vicious circle can be broken if we teach parents about the importance of putting their children through school."

In 2006, the secretariat launched a number of awareness campaigns to address the growing problem. The latest effort aims to roll out a national programme of "encouraging schoolchildren to make a list of non-enrolled children and children who have dropped out," the secretariat announced.

More than 500,000 sixth-grade students will be trained in survey techniques and some 70,000 students will be trained to conduct interviews with over a million non-enrolled children and dropouts. More than 14,000 teachers and headmasters will be responsible for implementing the plan.

Nadir believes the initiative is a logical one because it will get children who have dropped out back into the school system and it will act as a preventative measure because it raises students' awareness of the consequences of dropping out.

The initiative was tested last year in a few provinces. Fatima Lharti, a 12 year-old schoolgirl from Tangier, says she managed to stop approximately one dozen children from dropping out and persuaded a number of others who had already dropped out to come back to school. The most difficult part of the work is convincing parents. However, "when they hear children the same age as their own talking about the consequences of taking their children out of school, most come around within a few minutes," Lharti proudly told Magharebia.

Samir El Garoumi missed a year of school to work for his family. He is now back in school and has struck a healthy balance between work and studies. In the morning he goes to school and in the evening he helps his father manage an apartment building. This year he is taking part in the initiative to make a list of pupils who are not in school and he advises parents in his family circle to allow their children to finish their education.

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    hamid 2011-8-5

    dropping out of school is a really serious problem that our country suffer from. the problem, i think, does not only lie in the fact that parents are ignorant of the importance of education or parents live under dire poverty, but our moroccan educational system offer no help to get rid of this phenomenon. actually, the people in charge are not so much to care about poor parents or children living in rural areas as to give more interest to their children, getting them enrolled in private schools because they have the means for that. so, there is no point in suggesting whatever solution unless the ones in charge think of the country as a whole, because education is the first pillar by which the country would progress, and catch up with the world in general. thanks for the interesting article.

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    abderrahman 2010-11-10

    i think we should consider the causes of this epidemic and find practical and efficient solutions. to abolish this problem we must at first hand fight poverty which is in my opinion the major reason for dropping out of school; then we have to implement an overall reform of the educational system.

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    lamiaa 2010-4-5

    We suffer from a system of silence that tries to hide everything. It's time to react! Our education system is a big failure. The people responsible are not aware that education and instruction are the building blocks for the whole economy.

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    كريم 2009-12-27

    Man, there are no more studies, this is the problem.

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    mehdi 2009-3-10

    my country suffer from many social and political problems,so i wich that every moroccan try to help by getion face to problems and helping others: that's alla and viva morocco

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    mouad 2008-12-18

    The truth is that our school system has failings and the causes are many. This is no time for criticism, but the leaders do need to find practical solutions instead of an infinity of unbelievable numbers. In my opinion, we need to find what is the cause for this in our programmes, education system and Moroccan schools.

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    LOUNES 2007-6-24

    Yes it is true that the rate of children who drop out from school every year reaches the highest rate. But can we logically think and understand that these children are Berber? thye drop out from Moroccan school because they discover that they have to be "somebody else". They have to change their mentality in order to go with an other mentality which they know nothing about.For me myself i was on the point of dropping out of school just immediately after i find out that there are strong walls between the school i am going to and the environment i live in. so, don't be surprised. without doubt, i am sure is every amazigh is that arabisation is the main gun that murders the brain of these innocent children.

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    sami 2007-4-14

    Hi, i find this article interesting and original, as this content hasnt been dealt with in other Moroccan media. Congratulations to the author.

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    Abou DIARRA 2007-4-5

    That is a best way to help poor and marginalize children Thank you for the initiative

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