Volume 10 No 2 Spring 2014
 


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The Morocco News
March 31, 2014



Announcement of Transition to English in Moroccan Universities Goes Viral
by Liz Yaslik

New York – Moroccans expressed mixed reactions to the announcement made by the Minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, to transition to English as the main foreign language in Moroccan universities. The minister said the language change would push the Moroccan education system forward and keep Morocco more in line with the rest of the world.

Currently, French is the official foreign language in Moroccan universities, but Minister Daoudi expressed concern that this was holding Moroccan students back in comparison with the rest of the world.

Some Moroccans feel the idea is advantageous and the time is well past due to for Moroccan universities to make the switch from French to English. “The younger generations have progressively contributed to uprooting linguistic tradition which once was a major source of French pride. If Moroccans don’t open their eyes to the rest of the world and try to liberate themselves from this complex called ‘la France et les Francais’ our progress will suffer immensely,” Jawad Boujida commented to MWN.

Many Moroccans maintain that university students are being left behind by holding so tightly onto the French language and are losing ground as more and more regions around the world focus on elevating English as a second language in their countries. “Indeed, we must abandon French and welcome English, and say no to Moroccan educational policy. We are aware that adoption of French is a colonial dependency not an academic option,” online user Islam Zitane commented to MWN.

One of the main components behind Minister Daoudi’s declaration is the fact that English is the language used around the world to produce scientific research. As more scientific research and publications are produced in English, the more the language becomes an essential element in any academic atmosphere.

Paula Foster Chambers, an education professional at the California Institute of the Arts, saw this declaration as a good idea. “As a PhD myself and a higher education professional in the States, I can testify that English is indeed the language of scientific research and of the higher education world in general,” Chambers expressed to MWN online.

Most Moroccans articulated a sense of rejoice and relief that this realization was made and that the Ministry was finally taking a large step in the right direction. “Absolutely right French is far behind English. We look forward to seeing English as the first language in Morocco,” Amine Be commented to MWN online.

Yet others were reluctant to see the change to English as a beneficial move and would rather see the Arabic language take priority in Moroccan universities. “Arabic is the solution if we want to go forward… I’m not against English but I don’t want another failed education system. English is better than French for sure, but Arabic is the solution,” user Al Othman commented on MWN online.

The transition will push Moroccan university students to become fluent in English as a condition for obtaining a doctorate in engineering and medical programs. Moroccan university students will now be encouraged to collaborate with the rest of the English-speaking world and include themselves in the realm of English language scientific research communities across the globe.

“English is the solution for us to become a developed country in the future. This decision is the best one made by our government. I can see a clever move there, and I totally support it. We can’t deny or abandon our roots and origins, but we should surely choose what’s best for us and our country,” Salma Fedaili, a student at the American Language Center in Rabat, said to MWN.

With fluent English language skills, students will have the opportunity to contribute to academic research journals from various regions and share their findings with colleagues from around the world. In this respect, French would limit their audience and possibly even deteriorate their findings if the research were to be translated into English.

“Finally, our government decided to move forward and open the doors for many amazing opportunities that young Moroccans missed! E-marketing, E-commerce, trade and online marketing are the most generating fields and all in English,” Afifa Melouane commented to MWN online.

Moroccan students feel that with English they will be able to widen their audience as well as their ability to communicate with other researchers and scientists around the globe.


 

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