Morocco’s 30-year experiment with teaching only in Arabic may be coming to an end. In 2016, the government announced plans to transition secondary science and math instruction from Arabic to French and English, and this year it began implementing pilot projects in select regions. It is a dramatic reversal of Morocco’s longstanding policy on pre-collegiate education, which promoted Arabic to erase the country’s colonial legacy of French.
The decision reflects a widespread sentiment that schooling in Arabic has failed to prepare students for higher education or globalized labor markets. Yet the reinsertion of French raises difficult questions about elitism within education and the future of Arabic-medium instruction.
In this project, University of Pennsylvania fellow Gareth Smail reports on how students and teachers have navigated the linguistic and cultural challenges of adopting a new (or old) medium of instruction.