As described in its situation analysis of special needs education, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training (MENFP in French) takes a disability-focused approach to "inclusive education" centred on students with disabilities. This approach aims to "enable students with disabilities to pursue their studies in integrated and mainstream classes in mainstream schools following the current official curriculum."
In June 2019, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training launched a national inclusive education programme, primarily aimed at supporting children with disabilities. However, a 2019 handbook for the regional and provincial directors of education and training on the implementation of the national programme on inclusive education for children with disabilities states:
"Based on United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Handicap International definitions, it is clear that inclusive education has the goal of education for all, ensuring equal opportunities for learners and promoting equality and equity in learning. It therefore views educational institutions as spaces that should welcome all children, regardless of who they are, and provide them with what they need to succeed despite any challenges, barriers or shortcomings they may face, which ultimately distinguishes this form of education from other types of education. The characteristics of inclusive education include:
recognizing that all children can learn
recognizing and respecting differences between children
seeking to guarantee equal rights in education
enabling children, whether or not they have disabilities, to learn together
ensuring that educational institutions, systems and methods meet the needs of all children
considering the individual needs of each child
engaging with a broader strategy to promote an inclusive society – a dynamic process that is continually evolving
being an essential part of access to quality education for all.
Special educational needs
In 2000, section 14 of the National Education and Training Charter introduced the concept of people with special needs, which includes all people in vulnerable situations and persons with disabilities.
Education for children with special needs is organized in three different ways, depending on the type and level of disability. A child with special needs may attend: 1) mainstream classes; 2) classes in a mainstream school comprising only children with the same type of disability; or 3) a specialist centre for children with disabilities.
The Ministry of National Education has adopted a national approach to school integration that aims to "enable students with disabilities to pursue their studies in integrated classes and mainstream classes in mainstream schools, following the current official curriculum" (p. 3). The aim of integrated classes is to prepare these children "for partial and then full integration by adapting the content, teaching methods and techniques, and training programmes for teachers, inspectors, coordinators and educators belonging to associations working in the area of disability. This will better equip them to work with this category of learners, based on an accurate assessment of these children’s abilities and speed of learning" (p. 3).
It is mainly students with learning disabilities or hearing impairments who are admitted to classes for school inclusion (i.e. inclusion in mainstream classes).
The above-mentioned handbook also states that:
"The inclusive education approach requires the enrolment of children with disabilities in mainstream classes with their "mainstream" peers, while offering them specific interventions based on their individual educational needs. To provide children with disabilities with comprehensive care, they must be supported to learn basic intellectual and behavioural skills that will enable them to follow and benefit fully from educational activities. Considering these points, it is therefore necessary to build the capacities of children with disabilities enrolled in inclusive schools by setting up special classrooms where they can regularly undertake rehabilitation activities and strengthen their psychosocial skills" (p. 7).
These resource rooms (places where they can learn and receive support) will be repurposed from the school integration classrooms.
The same handbook also states that schools must accommodate all children with mild or moderate disabilities.
Morocco ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2009.
Within the national education system, a number of regulations govern the education of children with disabilities. In 1998, Ministerial Note 104 of 28 September, issued following Decree No. 2-97-218, specified that children with mild and moderate disabilities may be educated in public schools. Since then, several notes and circulars have reiterated the principle of educational integration. Framework Act No. 97-13 reinforces the right to education of children with disabilities. It reiterates the importance of reasonable adjustments. Acts No. 5-81 and 10-89 protect the rights of learners with a visual impairment. The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training's Framework for Quality Inclusive Education for Children with Disabilities provides an administrative, organizational and educational basis for implementing an inclusive and effective pedagogical approach. The Integrated Public Policy for the Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Act No. 07.92 on the Social Protection of Persons with Disabilities state that the education, instruction, training, qualification and social integration of persons with disabilities are a national responsibility and duty. In June 2019, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training adopted a three-year road map (2019–2021), which covers strengthening educational provision and promoting the pedagogical model.
The Strategic Vision for 2015–2030 entitled "Schools for equity, quality and advancement" has a section dedicated to persons with disabilities entitled "Guaranteeing the right to education, teaching and training for persons with disabilities or special needs". The Framework Act on the Protection and Promotion of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2016. It devotes a chapter to the education of persons with disabilities, highlighting their rights to education, teaching and training at all levels, including the right to freely choose from options of appropriate ways to pursue their studies. Motivated by the Strategic Vision for 2015–2030, in September 2018 the Council of Ministers approved a new draft framework act for the reform of the education, training and scientific research system, drawn up by the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, to enforce the right to education for children with disabilities. This Framework Act on Education 51.17 seeks to ensure: the roll-out of integrated education for all children without discrimination; affirmative action for children in rural and peri-urban areas and vulnerable areas; and the right to education and training for children with disabilities or special needs.
In terms of initiatives, Section 5: Guaranteeing the right to education for persons with disabilities or special needs of the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training's Strategic Vision for 2015–2030 aims to guarantee the right of access to education, teaching and training for persons with disabilities or special needs. It proposes drafting a national action plan for integrated (rather than inclusive) education; training teachers; adapting exams and exam requirements; and strengthening partnerships with government departments responsible for health and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The pilot project Better Educational Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in the Souss Massa Drâa Region (2012–2015) facilitated the implementation of specific training, awareness-raising and support activities in 18 schools. Finally, Handicap International has several local projects to improve access to education for children with disabilities.
The Constitution of 1 July 2011 recognizes the principle of parity between men and women. A gender parity and anti-discrimination authority has been set up to handle gender-related issues. More specifically, the Government Plan for Equality 2012–2016 sought to harmonize sectoral policies around the gender approach and mobilized 25 ministries. It aimed to provide "equitable and equal access for girls and boys to a quality, effective education system." To this end, it is expected that a system for encouraging innovative initiatives that promote equality and tackle gender-based violence in schools will be introduced. However, data to assess the implementation and impact of these initiatives are not available or are missing at this stage.
Several strategies and policies have also sought to promote gender equality in the education system. These include the 1997 National Strategy for the Advancement of Women, which focuses on the following strategic areas: legal protection, education and training, medical care, and women’s integration into the labour market, decision-making and the media. Other key measures include gender-responsive budgeting as of 2002, led by the Ministry of Finance and Privatization with support from UN Women, and the Strategic Action Plan to Mainstream Gender Equality in the Education System.
The 2004 Family Code similarly establishes gender equality within the family by, for example, equalizing the legal age for marriage.
Finally, foundations such as the Béatrice Schönberg Foundation or Aide et Action [Help and Action] and Relais Instruction Education Maroc [Teaching and Education in Morocco – RIM] aim to build facilities located near schools to accommodate and include girls from rural areas.
Ethnicity and languages
The Arabization of education took place in Morocco in the early 1980s. The Vision 2030 project aims to make Amazigh a language of instruction to provide a level of native language education and make the education system more inclusive. Arabic and Amazigh (Berber) are the two official languages of Morocco, but French is widely used in professional life. In 2018, Morocco had about 12.7 million French speakers out of 35 million inhabitants. Framework Act No. 51.17 on the education, training and scientific research system provided, for the first time, for language rotation (article 2) and for scientific and technical subjects to be taught in foreign languages (article 31). Article 31 stipulates that the Arabic language is adopted "as the foundational language of instruction" and that the Amazigh language will be increasingly used in schools within a "clear national framework and in harmony with the provisions of the Constitution, since it is an official language of the State, and is a shared asset for all Moroccans without exception." This same article provides for “gradually increasing and balanced multilingualism” to facilitate mastery of the two languages, Arabic and Berber, as well as "at least two foreign languages", and to enact "the principle of linguistic rotation in education as stipulated in article 2." Language rotation is defined as "a pedagogical approach and a progressive pedagogical option that invests in multilingual education, with the aim of diversifying teaching of languages, in addition to the country's two official languages, by teaching certain subjects, particularly scientific and technical subjects, or part of the content or fragments of part of the material in one or more foreign languages."
The National Initiative for Human Development has implemented four major programmes, including the programme to combat rural poverty in the 403 poorest rural communes. This programme, which has several educational dimensions, is helping to improve access to basic social and educational services, to promote the gender approach, to promote social, cultural and sporting activities, to promote sustainable local development and to strengthen local governance. The rural population is also identified as a priority under the new Framework Act No. 97.17 (articles 14 and 20).
Morocco has adopted a policy based on providing assistance to students in the form of scholarships, accommodation and catering and decentralizing higher education. The Tayssir programme, in particular, involves providing financial support to low-income families in rural areas with a view to improving students’ attendance and reducing dropout rates. It covers the distribution of school bags, the construction of boarding schools, the creation of canteens, the provision of school transport, and so on. There is, however, a lack of programmes that integrate disadvantaged children into early childhood education.
A Multi-Year Partnership Agreement (2018–2021) managed by the French Development Agency will also enable Morocco to build its capacity to plan, implement and monitor inclusive education. Morocco will also receive support to develop sectoral plans, strategies and policies relating to inclusive education. Different initiatives have been proposed for different groups: refugees, illiterate people, unemployed graduates, people in reintegration programmes, and children with special needs:
The National Strategy for Immigration and Asylum 2013 provides for open and free access to refugees of all nationalities to public primary and secondary schools on the same basis as Moroccans.
Pursuant to Ministerial Order No. 15.161 of 19 January 2015, students from immigrant backgrounds can benefit from school canteen and boarding services; and Ministerial Circular No. 13/487 of 9 October 2013 informs academy, provincial and school directors of the simplified enrolment procedures for migrant children.
Extensive literacy campaigns and adult basic education programmes aim to reduce illiteracy among out-of-school children.
The Enfant pour enfant [Child for Child] programme seeks to organize awareness campaigns about out-of-school children and school dropout.
The Taahil Al Mokawalat programme is aimed at unemployed graduates.
The school support programme is mainly aimed at people who have been reintegrated from a second-chance school. It offers assistance with homework and mediation between families and schools.
The E1P7 project under the 2009–2012 emergency plan was devoted to children with special needs (street children, children with disabilities, nomadic children, children in prison). It provided for the creation of 800 integrated primary school classes for children with disabilities and the adaptation of mainstream classes and teacher training activities. A United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) programme helps refugees integrate into Moroccan society.
The 2016 act proposed the creation of a regional multidisciplinary commission for issues related to the education of persons with disabilities. Various actors are involved in inclusive education (which mainly covers learners with disabilities in special schools). At the national level, the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research issues its opinion on public policies in education and evaluates related public policies and programmes. The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training is responsible for the curriculum, statistics, strategic planning, information systems, inspection and management training. The Ministry of Solidarity, Family, Women and Social Development is responsible for ensuring that the rights of persons with disabilities are respected. Other actors include the Ministry of Health and the National Human Rights Council. The National Evaluation Body of the Education, Training and Scientific Research System is the assessment body of the Higher Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research (article 16 of Act No. 105.12). It conducts general, sectoral and thematic policy evaluations. Finally, in June 2019, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training created a central administrative unit under the Directorate of Curricula responsible for inclusive education.
At the provincial and local levels, the main actors are: the regional education and training academies (school integration, pedagogical matters, school mapping, information and guidance, and school health divisions); the regional centres for careers in education and training; the provincial directorates for social action; the social development agencies; the regional directorates of the Ministry of Health; the regional coordination units for national mutual assistance; the local information and career guidance centres; and the regional human rights commission.
The classes for school inclusion are well equipped in terms of teaching materials. In June 2019, a comprehensive education kit was introduced at the launch of the National Inclusive Education Programme for Children with Disabilities, implemented under the 2017–2021 strategic action plan. A new framework curriculum, developed with United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) support, was set out in detail in the handbook sent to the provincial and regional directors of education and training. The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training has adopted practices for adapting the content of certification exams and the exam conditions and marking criteria for students with disabilities. Other measures were adopted at this meeting, such as individual and pedagogical support for students, the development of an app to help children with a hearing impairment improve their reading and the development of educational tools in sign language. Finally, the programme will make it possible to introduce timetables adapted to the specific needs of students with disabilities. This measure is included in the 2017–2021 strategic action plan.
Lastly, guidance has been issued to textbook designers to ensure that they follow the human rights requirements (removing stereotypes and discrimination, respecting the principles of equity and equality, etc.).
In 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported that Morocco did not have an appropriate regulatory framework or guidance for teachers. The decree establishing the regional centres for careers in education and training provides for three teacher training curricula, but does not mention disability. Within the framework of the E1P7 project under the emergency plan, only 26 teachers of classes for school inclusion in Souss Massa Drâa have been trained on disability and the majority receive fewer than 10 days’ training on disability-related issues. Similarly, the regional centres for careers in education and training do not provide training for teachers specializing in inclusive education.
In June 2019, at the launch of the National Inclusive Education Programme for Children with Disabilities, the Minister of National Education stressed the need for better teacher training on inclusive education. To this end, the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training has developed 16 documents in the form of guides for families and training modules for teachers, as well as a circular on the pedagogical framework for students. The Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training has also drawn up a reference framework of skills specific to these children and a pre- and in-service teacher training kit. Moreover, the handbook sent to provincial and regional directors of education and training in 2019 mentions among their duties (sheet 8) that they must train their existing managers on inclusive education classes. To achieve this objective, there are plans to:
identify training needs
develop an annual training programme for those involved in inclusive education (teachers, inspectors, principals, families, associations)
assess the impact of the training on learning
monitor how training sessions are run.
Considering the programmes that have already been implemented, the Inclusive Education Project is underutilized by teachers. The Mounassara project has helped train various education stakeholders on the rights-based approach to disability and has been involved in preparing the report on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Finally, Morocco has introduced a system to support teachers working with learners with disabilities, through a system of support teachers.
Morocco has a monitoring report on education. The 2019 handbook also mentions collecting statistical data on disability to determine both the needs of learners and the steps that need to be taken to expand school provision for children with disabilities. In 2012, the MASSAR education database was launched. Key education indicators are identified in annex 1.A of this document, but few indicators are directly related to inclusion.