Primary education in Morocco is compulsory and free of charge for pupils in public schools. Act No. 04-00 on compulsory education (2000) and the 2009 Emergency Plan provide for compulsory education up to the age of 15. Preschool education is almost exclusively private sector, either in its traditional form (Koranic schools/M'sid) or in its modern form (day-care centres and nurseries), since it is predominantly found in urban areas. Public higher education is free in Morocco, both for citizens and foreign nationals. Universities and institutions recently established under public–private partnerships take the form of non-profit foundations and charge enrolment fees. Grants are given to 20 per cent of students from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The State is the main source of financing for universities. The State subsidy for each university depends largely on the number of students, their fields of study and the type of training provided. Universities also raise their own funds, which can account for up to 40 per cent of their overall budget, through in-service training, recognition of their research or international cooperation projects.
The strategic vision for 2015–2030 aims to improve how groups in receipt of social support are targeted, strengthen financial support programmes for the enrolment of children from low-income families and link them to various programmes providing social support for education. The 2015–2030 strategic vision also aims to promote the integrated and effective management of children and to implement positive discrimination when funding rural education improvement projects. In addition, it aims to promote the creation of community schools to reduce territorial disparities and achieve gender equality.
The total budget of the Ministry of National Education was MAD 44,920 million in 2013, or about 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP). Subsidies allocated to the Regional Academy of Education and Training amounted to MAD 7,337 million in 2013.
Since 2000, a national programme that integrates children with disabilities into public schools has been implemented. It has introduced special integrated classes aimed at preparing children with disabilities to gradually join mainstream basic education classes.
The Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women and Social Development (MSFFDS in French) has implemented several measures. These include producing training modules and personalized follow-up booklets for teachers on how to target special education, and implementing the Education Support Programme for severely disabled children from poor families in specialist centres. These initiatives have resulted in more than 350 children with disabilities being transferred to mainstream and special classes,114 integrated classes enrolling approximately 1,370 children with disabilities, and more than 2 million personalized follow-up booklets being produced at the primary level. In Morocco, the national rate of enrolment among 6–17-year-olds with disabilities is 41.8 per cent, or 33,000 students with disabilities, according to the findings of a national survey on disability conducted by the Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women and Social Development in 2014. In 2014, children under 15 accounted for 38 per cent of people with mental disabilities.
Students do not pay tuition fees, but they do pay other fees. There are exemptions for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Household spending on education, including on stationery and textbooks, is one factor affecting children’s level of education.
Over 4.3 million pupils benefited from the One Million Schoolbags Royal Initiative in 2018/2019. A very large proportion of the beneficiary pupils, 63 per cent, were from rural areas compared with 37 per cent from urban areas; 85 per cent were enrolled in primary school and 15 per cent in secondary school.
Higher education scholarships
The vast majority of Moroccan students receive scholarships from the government. These scholarships are awarded on the basis of social criteria and educational merit. University accommodation and catering are subsidized by the State; students pay a small fee and the rates have been frozen for several years. Moroccan students studying abroad can apply for a grant. Every year, study-abroad scholarships are made available. These scholarships are for undergraduate and postgraduate students and are granted by the Moroccan Government or as part of international cooperation with the financial support of other countries. Universities also offer their students scholarships to study abroad, particularly as part of European programmes (Tempus, Erasmus Mundus and Erasmus+).
The Tayssir programme
One innovative programme under the social assistance strategy that is having a positive impact on enrolment and retention rates is the "Tayssir" conditional grant programme. This programme provides direct conditional financial support to low-income families in rural areas with the aim of reducing school dropout and improving attendance and enrolment rates, especially for rural girls who have thus far been the most disadvantaged group.