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Morocco: Students Demand Education Reform

In July, a group of Moroccan students launched a Facebook page called “The Union of Moroccan Students to Change the Education System” (French acronym: UECSE). The group is a gathering of young Moroccans whose aim is to “act, and discuss concrete solutions to improve the education system”.

In less than a month, the Facebook page attracted well over 10,000 members and a lot of support on social media.

The momentum seems to have been fueled by news that the government may be planning to toughen the tuition policy at public universities.

The group called [Fr] for a nationwide demonstration on Monday, August 6, 2012, to “encourage civil society and the Moroccan political elite to open a national debate on measures to reform the system.”

The appeal was relayed on social media.

In a video, the group posted on YouTube prior to the protest, students called for radical changes in the education system. “The entire education system needs to be changed,” one student says on camera. “The system needs to be broken down completely and rebuilt from scratch,” says another. A lot of students appearing on the video also denounce what they consider “disincentive measures” imposed by prestigious Grandes Ecoles, in particular high thresholds required to compete in college entrance exams.

On the day of the protest, hundreds of students and their parents responded to the call as documented by pictures and videos posted and shared on the internet.

The following video is from a demonstration in Morocco's largest city, Casablanca (posted by The7Gladiator):

Pictures posted on Flickr by Hassan Ouazzani show a great diversity of slogans denouncing corruption, favoritism, poor infrastructure and tough conditions imposed on undergraduates to enter higher education:

Moroccan students call for a reform of the education system – Picture by Hassan Ouazzani – Used with permission

Moroccan students call for a reform of the education system – Photo used with kindly permission from Hassan Ouazzani

Moroccan students call for reform of the education system – Photo used with kindly permission from Hassan Ouazzani

The demonstrations went on peacefully. The group pledges to organize more sit-ins and roundtables across the country.

On its Tumblr, the UECSE writes:

Young STUDENTS are asking for a good education system they are the MOROCCAN STUDENTS, tired of the current situation they are willing to change their futur(e) and to achieve their dreams, (an) ambitious wave is showing up

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