After the independence of Morocco, the number of people getting a higher education was very small (see table), but in the 90′s this number increased. After that, higher educational institutions and some faculties limited their access by introducing new requirements to limit overcrowding because of the lack of resources. But faculties of Art, Humanities, Law and Economics had to absorb the remaining number of students to respect and follow the “education for all” policy that the government made.
Source : AuFait
And then from a quantitative crisis we moved to a qualitative crisis in those faculties, due to overcrowding and the lack of material resources. In some universities we have 280 students for 100 places (Lahcen Daouidi). And according to the 2011 report of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (page 15), five higher educational institutions are in a critical situation of overcrowding where they’re exceeding 200 percent of their capacity. This results in a lack of quality of what the students acquire in those institutions and an inadequacy between what the graduate student have learned in those faculties and what the job market requests.
In a recent interview to the quotidian L’Economiste, the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Lahcen Daouidi talked about making the rich pay for the poor. But from a human rights militant view, AMDH Vie-President Abdelhamid Amine says, “The free access to education is something essential.”
So who’s right and who’s wrong? Actually from an idealistic angle, Abdelhamid Amine is right. But let’s be realistic and use some common sense: With its budgetary constraints, the government can’t just finance everyone’s studies AND provide to them at the same time a good education quality. It is simply impossible with the increasing number of students.
So this why I believe that a student who has the means to pay for access to the university should pay for themselves. On the other hand, students who have limited financial resources must get free access. Universities and higher educational institutions need the financial support to build adequate infrastructures and to provide a supportive environment to the students as well as the teachers, enabling and encouraging them this way to give quality teaching.
The only obstacle that I can see through this reform is when it comes to evaluating who has the means to pay for access. Lahcen Daouidi’s answer was they’ll “deal with the situation in individual cases.” How much time is going to take? How many resources is it going to take? And also, what’s the criteria to consider someone able to pay for access?
We usually fail our reforms in those small technical details, which makes our work ineffective. I still think that it is a good idea to allow access to this many students in our higher educational institutes and at the same time giving them a good quality teaching.
What should politicians and educators do? Do you have any suggestions? Any ideas? Let’s all try to think about it!