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Thousands of teachers protest for equitable education reform in Morocco

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Thousands of teachers took to the streets of Rabat on Thursday, demanding a fair reform of their status in the education sector, which has been disrupted by strikes for three months.

Since October, the strikes have disrupted the schooling of 7 million students in the public sector © Mana Today 

Thousands of teachers took to the streets of Rabat on Thursday, demanding a fair reform of their status in the education sector, which has been disrupted by strikes for three months.

Chanting slogans like "In unity and solidarity, we will prevail," the demonstrators marched from the capital's main thoroughfare to the Ministry of National Education headquarters.

According to the Ministry, 50,000 teachers out of 280,000 went on a two-day strike on Wednesday and Thursday, rejecting an agreement reached between the government and the sector's main trade unions concerning teachers' status, which had been at the root of the crisis since October.

The government committed at the end of December to grant "public servant status to all workers in the education sector," thus addressing the main demand of 140,000 contract teachers in the public sector who have been recruited since 2016, according to an official statement.

The government also announced an increase of 1,500 dirhams (approximately $140 dollars) for all teachers, whose average salary is around 5,000 dirhams (about $463).

However, the National Coordination of the Education Sector, an informal alliance of several professional groups, rejected the agreement. "The government is only trying to quell the anger of teachers. We do not adhere to this agreement because it was signed by unions that do not represent us," explained Rabie El Gourii, a member of the Coordination, in an interview with AFP.

Since October, the strikes have disrupted the schooling of 7 million students in the public sector, accounting for 87% of Moroccan learners, according to the Ministry of Education. "We want a fair reform for teachers," continued Mr. El Gourii.

A similar strike movement was initiated in 2019 by contract teachers (recruited through contracts with regional academies) who demanded public servant status. The Moroccan public education system has often been criticized for its low student achievement, a high dropout rate, overcrowded classrooms, and a constant trend towards privatization within the sector.

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