The British embassy and the World Bank to support Morocco’s education system

Rabat: The British Embassy in Morocco and the World Bank signed today a £217,000 (MAD 2.6 million) agreement to provide technical assistance to Morocco’s Ministry of National education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research. The signing ceremony was chaired by Said Amzazi, minister of National education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research, in the presence of Simon Martin, British Ambassador to Morocco, and Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director.

The agreement will provide technical assistance to the Ministry’s ongoing reforms, focusing on improving teaching practices, developing performance-based and participative management models, and strengthening communication among sector stakeholders for greater ownership and a sense of commitment to a common delivery goal.

The technical assistance builds on the World Bank’s ongoing education support programme—approved in June 2019—which is helping establish an enabling environment for delivering quality Early Childhood education, improving teaching practices in primary and secondary education, and strengthening management capacity and accountability along the education service delivery chain.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, which poses tremendous challenges for the education sector in countries around the world, is a clear example of the need for teaching to be adaptive and flexible, able to make full use of opportunities and overcome barriers, said Simon Martin, British Ambassador to Morocco. “The British Embassy is delighted to support education reform in Morocco in this way. The United Kingdom Government is clear that quality education is a fundamental building block of any society, and it is vital that all parts of the education system work effectively together in order to address learning poverty.”

The £217,000 technical assistance envelop is channelled through the United Kingdom government. The World Bank will be responsible for piloting the technical assistance by setting up synergies with its ongoing education support programme. The technical assistance also builds on the World Bank’s “Learning poverty” global initiative which aims to boost children’s foundational skills and assess the interventions and capacities needed to achieve these targets. Morocco, which is among the 10 countries that have joined the initiative, will be part of a global education community of practice to put in place a reform momentum in a post-Covid-19 context. Learning poverty today, defined as the share of 10-year olds which cannot read and comprehend a basic text, stands at 66 percent in the Kingdom. In comparison, in low-middle income countries, this average reaches 53%.

“At this critical juncture, our goal is to create opportunities for ongoing reforms aiming at improving the performance of the sector,” said Jesko Hentschel, World Bank Maghreb Country Director. “Well targeted interventions with a focus on children at risk could accelerate the country’s objectives to universalize preschool by 2027 for children aged 4 and 5 years old, reduce learning poverty and strengthen accountability along the service delivery chain through cutting edge, evidence-based approaches. ”

“This support is timely and critical to Morocco’s reform agenda. COVID-19 pandemic amplifies pre-existing weaknesses within the education system. But despite this difficult context, the education system remains a top priority for the Moroccan government, which is committed to implementing the provisions of the framework-law n. 51.17 to improve equity and quality in the education system and promote Moroccan children’s individual and social development” said Said Amzazi, Moroccan Minister of National education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research.

Technical assistance objectives include:

Selecting and training teachers – an essential phase in preparing the next generation of teachers who are well-equipped with the technical knowledge and pedagogical skills needed to successfully deliver in the classroom. The technical assistance will help the Ministry of National education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research develop improved methods to upgrade the teaching function and improve the training of future teachers.
A collaborative approach to design performance contracts at central and local levels, that lays out roles and responsibilities across the institutional bodies within the Ministry of of National education, vocational training, higher education and scientific research, which are responsible for the education service delivery Performance contracts, which set clear time-bound delivery objectives for each institution, are regularly monitored to evaluate progress towards achieving the outlined objectives. The technical assistance will facilitate the development of these performance contracts between the Ministry and AREFS (regional education and training academies), and between AREFS and Provincial Directorates. This component is aimed to enhance central, regional and local-level accountability, as well as greater autonomy for AREFs.
A communication and change management strategy to increase awareness about and commitment to reforms pertaining to preschool and teachers’ professional development, putting the learning outcome objective as part of “building back better”. Providing parents, teachers, and inspectors with key information on learning materials, pedagogical tips and positive discipline will help facilitate success and promote support to reforms for a better-performing education system.