Morocco: Exorbitant prices for French schools in the face of a national education in crisis

CASABLANCA: The choice of many Moroccans to enroll their children in the French educational network is often motivated by the absence of a quality public school.
“I have no choice but to enroll my children in the French mission,” Souad * told Arab News in French, a mother of two enrolled in one of the establishments in the French educational network in Casablanca.

“When you look at the state of public schools, the level of education of many young Moroccans, we can only turn to foreign schools and in this case to French schools,” he says.

The issue of national education in Morocco is a thorny issue that often comes to the fore in the Moroccan political scene. The latest controversy dates back to earlier this month, when the National Federation of Education (FNE) called for protests as part of a “week of anger” from Monday 14 to Saturday 19 March. against the unfair conviction of 45 contractors. teachers who demanded better socio-professional conditions.

Thus, since October, the teachers hired on strike have lost about fifty days of class and students are being held hostage in a fight between the Ministry of National Education and the teachers hired to demand their integration into the civil service. A situation that has been going on since 2016.

In addition, in a survey published on November 30, 2021 by the Board of Education, the figures are especially eloquent when it comes to polling the Moroccan school. Covering a population of more than 36,000 students enrolled in 1,500 schools throughout the country, the PNEA-2019 survey (National Program for Assessing Student Performance), shows, with supporting figures, the state of the the ruinous state of education in Morocco, the inequality between students in the public and private sectors, as well as the mediocre level of Moroccan students in the language of Molière.

Thus, we learn, for example, that the gap between public and private represents on average the equivalent of 4 years of schooling. That is, a 3rd grader in the public sector has the same level as a 5th grader in the private sector.
Regarding the mastery of French, we learn that in 6th grade, 41% of students have not acquired, during previous years, the language resources needed to continue French classes and only 12% have assimilated all the this program.

The survey also shows that 76% of students have assimilated less than 21% of the prescribed French program in the third year of high school and only 11% have assimilated more than 91%. Finally, the gap between private education and urban public education in terms of French is widening: it reaches 82 points at the end of secondary education compared to 47 points at the end of primary education.

Exorbitant prices

Souad had difficulty explaining his situation to two children at a French high school. “My husband and I are suffering in silence, despite our two salaries, we are indebted to the neck,” he will finally admit. “Some people think that enrolling our children in a French mission is synonymous with prestige, even a lifestyle to stand out from others, but in reality, it is a daily sacrifice we make for the future of our children. We have no choice. ” Souad will explain that she and her husband are “children of the Mission” and that today they feel “victims of their Francophonie.”

As for the establishments of the French educational network in Morocco, business is going well. In fact, the web is one of the densest in the world. At the beginning of the 2021 academic year, it will train around 46,500 students, more than 70% of whom are Moroccans, in 45 establishments covering the main cities in Morocco, at all levels of education.

These establishments are all approved by the French Ministry of National Education, Youth and Sports (MENJS) and are part of the French educational network abroad, piloted by the French Agency for Education Abroad (AEFE. ).

If there are different statuses for these establishments, their goal remains the same: to offer quality teaching in French in Morocco, the same as can be found in France.

The only difference between Morocco and France is the size. While in France schooling is theoretically free, in Morocco tuition fees are very expensive. According to the announcement of admission for the 2021-2022 academic year, which can be consulted on the website of the Cultural Cooperation and Action Service, attached to the French Embassy in Morocco, the annual enrollment fees of a registered child in kindergarten or primary school at the Lycée Français International Louis-Massignon in Casablanca, for example, it amounts to 47,670 dirhams (1 dirham ≃ 0.092 euros). 53,226 dirhams for a high school child and finally 67,989 dirhams for high school.

To these costs must be added the first registration fees which are 50,000 dirhams.

These fees vary according to the statutes of the establishments and a reduction is applied for the members of the same brothers. In the AEFE EGD, for example, the parents of a French child will pay less than the parents of a Moroccan child. The truth is that these prices are extremely violent for the majority of the Moroccan population. In addition, the level of these quotas increases from year to year, either for French or Moroccan parents.

In fact, the average annual income in Morocco is 91,933 dirhams according to a survey by the High Planning Committee of Morocco (HCP). In addition, the richest 20% of the population has an average annual per capita income of 57,400 dirhams. However, to educate your child in a French establishment in Casablanca, you will have to pay between 80,000 and 100,000 dirhams in a year, if this is your first tuition.

Hicham, 31, a young service executive who is the father of a newborn baby, told Arab News in French that “French missions are reserved for the country’s elite children, when you look at the rates. “School, I can only be surprised. And sad for my son who will surely never be able to step on it.”

“At the age of 31, I barely earn 10,000 dirhams a month, when my son reaches the age of the small section I certainly would not have exceeded 12,000 dirhams with the desperate evolution of wages, I already have a mortgage loan to pay , how do you do it? do you expect me to think for a moment about the French institutes? he is outraged. “Either it would take a miracle, or it would do the same job four times, it’s just impossible,” he concludes with a resigned smile.

On March 20, 2018, on the occasion of Francophonie Day, Emmanuel Macron announced his intention to “double the number of students received” in some 500 French institutes abroad, by 2030, and he had promised. ” the commitment of the Ministry of Education and Youth to separate 1,000 additional incumbents in the coming years “. Four years later, that promise seems to have been forgotten even as the dawn of the upcoming presidential election put its finger on a grieving French national education system.

* The first name has been changed at the request of the person

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