Home » Morocco Unveils Ambitious Plan to Strengthen English Language Teaching in Middle Schools
Africa Marroco News North Africa Schools

Morocco Unveils Ambitious Plan to Strengthen English Language Teaching in Middle Schools

Morocco has ramped up efforts to unleash a wave of transformation within its education system in recent years, with English taking center stage.

Rabat – In a groundbreaking policy shift, the Moroccan Ministry of National Education, Preschool, and Sports has announced a nationwide plan to strengthen English language teaching in middle school, challenging the longstanding dominance of French.

The Minister of Education Chakib Benmoussa issued on Tuesday a memorandum outlining the decision to the relevant authorities, including the regional directors of education and training academies, inspectors, middle school directors, and middle school English language teachers.

It indicated that the teaching of English will be expanded gradually across Moroccan middle schools, starting from the first year (seventh grade). The initiative will begin starting from the upcoming 2023-2024 academic year.

Under the new plan, each middle school English teacher will teach a total of 24 hours per week and will be allocated 12 classes. In addition, each grade will take two hours of English per week.

In the upcoming 2023-2024 school year, English language teaching in middle schools will be expanded with a coverage rate of up to 10% in seventh grade and 50% in eighth grade.

The teaching of English will be further expanded in the 2024-2025 academic year, with a coverage rate of up to 50% in seventh grade and 100% in eighth grade.

Read also: English: Morocco’s Promising Language For the Future

Eventually, in the 2025-2026 academic year, English language teaching will be fully implemented in the first year of middle school, leading to the complete integration of English language instruction at all levels of middle school.

The ministry linked the move to Framework Law No. 17/51, which pertains to the education, training, and scientific research system, as well as Morocco’s roadmap for educational reform for the period 2022-2026.

The ministry indicated that the decision aligns with the provisions of Morocco’s constitution, which stresses the importance of learning and mastering the most widely spoken foreign languages as means of communication and openness to the world.

By embracing the English language, Morocco aims to open doors of opportunity for its youth at an early age, as well as foster cultural exchange, technological advancement, and global connectivity, according to the ministerial memorandum.

Adopted measures

To expand English language teaching in middle school, the ministry called for the implementation of administrative, educational, organizational, training, and supportive measures at all levels.

This includes establishing a central leadership committee, chaired by the Secretary-General of the ministry and consisting of directors of relevant central directorates, responsible for monitoring and evaluating the implementation of this ambitious program at various stages. 

The ministry noted that a program for implementing English language teaching will be developed under the supervision of the Curriculum Directorate.

This stage will see the involvement of relevant central directors and regional academies of education and training, as well as various educational stakeholders. 

Highlighting the centrality of well-trained teachers in ensuring effective instruction and enhancing language proficiency among students, the ministry said that the program will prioritize teacher training to strengthen instructors’ linguistic and professional skills.

The ministry also encouraged the use of information technology in classrooms to achieve these goals, as well as revealed plans to create digital platforms to help students master the English language.

Shift toward the English language

In recent years, Morocco has made several efforts to reinforce English language learning as means to strengthen the country’s international competitiveness, appeal to foreign investors, and achieve greater global connectivity.

In September 2022, Benmoussa revealed plans to increase the number of English teachers in the 2022-2023 academic year, in a bid to support Morocco’s plans to reinforce English language teaching in middle school.

“Starting from this school year, our goal is to first, at the middle school level, reinforce students’ learning of the English language,” he said. “We will increase the number of English teachers.”

Morocco’s commitment to strengthening English language learning comes as many Moroccans call for adopting the world’s most spoken language as the country’s first foreign language, in replacement of French.

A 2022 report by the British Council showed that English is “growing rapidly in importance among Moroccan youth, who regard it as vital for unlocking educational, career, and cultural opportunities.”

The report found that 40% of young Moroccans regard English as the most important language to learn, while only 10% thought so for French. 

Morocco’s shift toward the English language includes the launch of various initiatives and partnerships in the areas of education and English language learning.

Earlier this month, Morocco and the United Kingdom signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase the use of the English language assessment in Moroccan public universities. 

In addition, the two countries discussed future collaboration in higher education, notably in English language learning and assessment, transnational education, and scientific research.

Last month, Coventry University established its inaugural campus in Morocco, making it the first British university campus in the country. The campus is located in Bouskoura, near the city of Casablanca. 

The UK’s ambassador to Morocco Simon Martin told Morocco World News that the inauguration of the new campus is a “response to the desire of many Moroccans – not just young Moroccans, but particularly young Moroccans – to speak and to operate in English.”

Source : Morocco World News