On World Teachers’ Day, celebrated every 5th of October, Morocco’s teachers took to the streets to vehemently protest against what they perceive as unjust and unfair education reform known under the name of “fundamental system.”
The protests unfolded in front of the Ministry of Education and the Parliament buildings in Rabat, calling for a reevaluation of the controversial reform and shedding light on the pressing challenges that teachers encounter amidst the implementation of the newly unified status.
Morocco’s teachers vehemently vent their discontent with the Minister of National Education, Preschool and Sports, Chakib Benmoussa, categorically demanding his resignation.
Teachers gathered in large numbers to vehemently criticize the educational unions’ involvement in this agreement, describing it as a scandalous act.
They also expressed their dissatisfaction with the four educational unions that signed the January 14, 2023 agreement.
Their involvement in the development of the new fundamental system for employees of the Ministry of Education has further exacerbated the anger and frustration among the teachers’ community.
Morocco’s teachers categorically reject the fundamental system, labeling it as exclusive. They advocate for the full empowerment of the educational community to exercise their rights, particularly in terms of promotions and remuneration for their roles and responsibilities.
This protest is driven by a strong commitment to defending the rightful entitlements of those who play crucial roles in the field of education.
The National Federation of Education – Democratic Trend FNE union was among those who had participated in sectoral negotiations with the Ministry of Education.
However, the federation chose not to sign the agreement on January 14 and adopted a position diametrically opposed to the fundamental system.
Hanane Fadel, a member of the (NFE), explained to MoroccoLatestNews, “The protest program was launched as a response to the dismal outcomes of the regressive fundamental system, which has disappointed the hopes of both female and male educators. It has failed to even meet the minimum requirement of a salary increase.”
Abdelkhalek Ben Taleb, a primary school teacher and member of the National Coordination Committee for the victims of the 1995-1996-1997 cohorts also participated in the protest and described this system as ‘destructive”, according to MoroccoLatestNews.
Ben Taleb said about World Teachers’ Day, “We would have liked the celebration to be joyous with various activities. Unfortunately, the fundamental system came in and it is not motivating for all professionals, including social support workers who have been drastically excluded. This exclusion seems to be a deliberate and systematic consequence of their protests since their appointment in 2021.”
“Our protest is to defend our duties and the demand for limiting working hours to a maximum of 24 hours,” said Ben Taleb.
Despite security measures, protesters broke through and clashed with security forces. Some teachers were injured and arrested, while others were prevented from joining a parallel demonstration near the Parliament building.
Intense debates between the Ministry of National Education and the educational union regarding the fundamental system have raised concerns among parents.
The breakdown in communication may lead to frequent protests and strikes, threatening the school year. The rejection of the system by various educational bodies deepens the challenges of finding a solution because they found it unjust and unfair.
However, the ministry supports the fundamental system emphasizing its potential to reclaim the public school’s reputation and regain public trust, as teachers play a crucial role in its transformation.
Every year on October 5th, the world honors teachers. A request from the International Labour Organization and UNESCO led to its establishment in 1994. This day acknowledges the difficulties teachers face while also recognizing the significant responsibilities and efforts they play in society.
However, Morocco’s teachers took to the streets, in front of institutional buildings to express their discontent with the fundamental system and voice their concerns about the status of teachers in the country.