Education ministry fast-tracks English integration in middle school amidst pressure

Education ministry fast-tracks English integration in middle school amidst pressure

The Ministry of Education has sprung into rapid action in response to a directive from the Minister, as the integration of the English language into middle schools for the current school year gains momentum.

“Upon receiving a directive from the Minister of Education, we fast-tracked our plans to introduce English learning in middle schools, bringing about a significant shift in our educational approach,” said Director of Curricula, Mohammed Zerouali in an interview with MoroccoLatestNews English.

This directive has set in motion a flurry of activities within the Ministry of Education.

One of the most substantial undertakings is the production of a brand-new English curriculum. Zerouali pointed out the importance of this effort, saying, “This marks the first time that the Curriculum Directorate is solely responsible for curriculum development, including evaluation, with a keen focus on aligning with international standards.”

This comprehensive curriculum development has been made possible through a strategic partnership with USAID, the US Agency for International Development.

Over the course of the last three  months, Moroccan educators and international experts collaborated closely to craft a high-quality English curriculum tailored to the country’s unique educational needs.

The revamped curriculum now comprises six units, a streamlined version compared to the previous eight. 

Zerouali further clarified, “The curriculum being developed is specifically for the first year of middle school. As for the second year, there is a syllabus in place, which is the same as what’s used in the third year of middle school. However, students in the second year will study fewer units.”

Zerouali elaborated, “To facilitate a smooth transition, we incorporated the curriculum in three academies with USAID’s support which will be responsible for printing the syllabus. Simultaneously, we provided digital resources to the remaining nine academies, allowing them to print the curriculum themselves as they have an allocated budget for that. Four of these units are sufficient for six to seven months of instruction, allowing enough time for the completion of the two remaining units.”

Beyond curriculum development, Zerouali also noted the crucial role played by a central team of national experts in ensuring the successful implementation of the curriculum. He said, “This central team worked closely with the international team to ensure that the curriculum aligns seamlessly with international standards. Two inspectors of each academy have convened with the experts and were instructed on how to approach the syllabus. These inspectors will now play a pivotal role in disseminating knowledge and guidance to their peers, further solidifying the implementation process.”

Zerouali underscored the Ministry of Education’s unwavering commitment to delivering a high-quality English language syllabus. He said, “This new curriculum adheres rigorously to international standards, and we are dedicated to ensuring that it upholds the highest quality.”

This transformative educational shift is part of the 2023-2024 curriculum framework, which comprises 20 projects, with a clear preference for English language integration in middle school education.

In response to criticism regarding the initial 10% integration of the English language in middle school, Zerouali emphasized, “To make this project successful, two crucial elements are needed: the curriculum itself and human resources. It’s not possible to integrate English 100% due to our insufficient availability of qualified teachers.”

Zerouali added “while the first memorandum initially outlined a 10% integration of the English language in the first year of middle school, some academies, such as those in Casablanca and Beni Mellal, have exceeded this percentage.

Zerouali further added, “All of the school inspectors and educational staff are satisfied with the work we’ve done so far. There were indeed some questions and uncertainties before the release of the third memorandum regarding our approach. However, as soon as the memoranda were issued, there was complete clarity and total satisfaction.”

To support this groundbreaking initiative, plans are underway to recruit 400 new teachers for the forthcoming academic year, ensuring the availability of qualified teachers to facilitate the transition.


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