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Education

Historical Background
Higher education in Morocco has had a long tradition, starting with the Qarawyin University, which was established in the 9th century (859) in Fez.

The colonial model of Morocco’s university was no more than an annexe of the French Bordeaux University up to the late 1960s. Except in the Qarawyin, the organizational structure was modeled on the French system, with the same curricula, the same system of evaluation, and the use of French as the primary language of instruction.

Enrollment and Faculty Numbers
In the 1997-98 academic year, 242,929 students (compared to 255,907 in 1998-99) were distributed among 68 public institutions of higher education, with 60,601 newly registered students (24.94% of the total number of students in higher education). The largest proportion of such institutions are faculties of arts and humanities (14, or 20.58%), followed by faculties of science (11, or 16.17%). The largest proportion of students were enrolled in faculties of law and economics (109,299, or 45%), followed by those enrolled in faculties of arts and humanities (65,149, or 26.21%).

Enrollment Trends
Year
Enrollment
1997-98
243,000
1998-99
249,000
1999-00
251,000

Another feature worth pointing out in relation to the student population in the Moroccan university is the alarmingly low percentage of students enrolled in graduate programs across the disciplines (2.5% in law and economics, 07.15% in the humanities and social sciences and 10.95% in science). The highest rates of students enrolled in graduate programs as a percentage of those enrolled in the same fields as an undergraduate are recorded for education (182 of 195, or 93.3%) and engineering (416 of 1621, or 25.6%).

Student Enrollment and Staff Size
University (location)
No.*
Student Enrollment
Staff
   
Total
Female
Total
Female
 Mohamed V Soussi (Rabat)
5
14,155
6,584
902
268
 Mohamed V Agdal (Rabat)
5
23,944
11,458
1,184
325
 Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdallah (Fez)
7
26,701
10,328
1,021
201
 Qarawyin (Fez)
4
5,968
2,057
126
12
 Mohamed I (Oujda)
4
19,246
8,432
589
76
 Qadi Ayiad (Marrakesh)
8
32,414
11,955
1,251
232
 Hassan II Ain Chock (Casablanca)
7
29,202
14,526
1,203
362
 Hassan II (Mohammedia)
5
16,312
7,967
721
213
 Ibn Tofail (Kenitra)
2
7,894
3,658
402
127
 Abdelmalek Saadi (Tetuan)
6
9,929
4,683
550
101
 Moulay Ismail (Meknes)
6
22,003
8,412
651
118
 Ibn Zohr (Agadir)
4
11,205
3,982
451
87
 Chouaib Doukkali (El Jadida)
2
7,796
3,562
440
97
 Hassan I (Settat)
3
3,135
1,278
176
55
 Total
68
229,904
98,882
9,667
2,274

No.* = Number of institutions; Source : M.P.E.P 1998 Annuaire Statistique du Maroc, Rabat: Direction de la Statistique: 367-368 & 373.

Funding and Resources
The financing of the system has been a responsibility of the state throughout the history of the Moroccan university, which government officials believe is a justification of their claim to be sole managers of the funds made available to institutions. The government's demonstrated inability to maintain appropriate funding for all institutions of higher education may lead it to abdicate its responsibility partly and therefore lay the ground for the introduction of a more constraining, contract-based recruitment and tenure policy.

Education in general, and higher education in particular, has always been free in Morocco. Given the fact that a large majority of Moroccan families are unable to financially contribute to the education of their children, a decision to introduce fees in higher education is likely to meet with staunch resistance on the part of those most concerned, students and their families.

Research and Publishing
The budget allocated to higher education in 1998-99 included an allowance exclusively reserved to scientific research (45 million Moroccan Dirhams, or US$4.5 million).

At the institutional level, the status of research and the nature of research activities vary according to the type of institution concerned. Research has been accorded due importance in institutions of specialized higher education in which relatively adequate funding has been made available through projects and research contracts with the private sector, international development agencies, and foreign universities, particularly in France, the United States, and Germany.

Problems of publication of research work, which have been reported for most developing countries, are also a drawback of the system of higher education in Morocco. Generally speaking, Moroccan researchers who do not enjoy the privilege of belonging to a publishing "old boy" network find it difficult, sometimes impossible, to have their research work published. As publication facilities within the country are scanty and do not allow the desired dissemination of results, motivation to carry out research work is rather low and is often restricted to degree-seeking research.

Governance and Administration
Ever since the inception of the Moroccan system of higher education, university presidents and deans have been nominated by royal decree upon recommendation by the Ministry of Higher Education. The higher education component of the newly drafted national charter deals with the issue in rather ambiguous terms.

The other bodies involved in the governance of higher education (e.g., university councils, presided over by presidents, faculty councils and faculty scientific councils, presided over by deans) are made up of a majority of members elected by their peers, but the restricted consultative role that has been assigned to them thus far will also be an important issue for debate at the national level before a final decision is made about the adoption of the proposed National Education Charter.

Gender Issues
The overall average rate of female students enrollment for 1997-98 was around 43%. The highest percentages are for in law and economics (41.35%), arts and humanities (52.13%), medicine and pharmacy (56.88%), dentistry (66.84%), and trade and business administration (45.35%). Enrollment in graduate programs is no way comparable to these figures.

Private Higher Education
The development of institutions of private post-secondary education has taken place in the last two decades but has been characterized by instability. It is restricted to the main urban centers, particularly Casablanca and Rabat, where 49 of the 79 institutions functioning during the 1997-98 academic year (62%) were located. These institutions offer non-traditional courses such as computer science, business administration, and management, with an emphasis on the perceived needs of the market.

With regard to student enrollments, the same pattern is noted again, with institutions in Casablanca and Rabat receiving 6,134 students out of a total of 8,500 (72.12%). In spite of the relatively high number of institutions, the student population in private higher education is less than 3.5% of the overall population of university students in the country.


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