New university initiatives to tackle teacher shortage

Morocco has unveiled a strategy to tackle a shortage of teachers specialised in mathematics and foreign languages. It includes new initiatives that will be implemented by universities and other higher education institutions.

The strategy was outlined in a (French language) report* titled Strategic Vision for the Reform of the Moroccan School: 2015-2030, presented by officials from the Supreme Council for Education, Training and Scientific Research at a 29 September media briefing in Rabat, according to Morocco World News.

The strategy is in line with the 5 October World Teachers’ Day, “Empowering teachers, building sustainable societies”, which stressed that teachers must be enabled as a critical step towards quality education and sustainable societies.


Morocco, as an Arab and North African country, is one of many countries threatened by a teacher shortage, according to a 5 October report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics.

To deal with this educational challenge, Morocco prepared a roadmap that among other recommendations encourages or requires universities and other higher education institutions to do the following:
  • • Set up a greater number of bachelor degrees focused on teaching mathematics, French and English to encourage undergraduates to become teachers.
  • • Develop programmes designed to produce teachers who have the skills, knowledge and commitment necessary to teach effectively in high-need areas.
  • • Prepare training programmes that focus on improving the performance of new teachers and provide professional development opportunities targeted to the particular needs of individual teachers.
  • • Create high quality induction programmes for new teachers.
  • • Prepare policies and initiatives that attract more candidates to the teaching profession and quickly prepare them to enter the classroom.
  • • Develop teacher education programmes that focus on providing potential teachers with the specific skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in schools.
The government must also motivate graduates to become professors by offering them financial and social support.

Supreme Council officials called on the government to adopt the strategy in order to avoid vacancies in foreign languages and maths by 2020.

Difficult to implement?

The feeble performance of Morocco’s universities might make implementing this strategy difficult, Hilmi Salem, a higher education consultant and director general of applied sciences and engineering research centres at Palestine Technical University, told University World News.

While Morocco has one of the world’s oldest universities – the University of al-Karaouine – its higher education institutions have weak performance indicators and do not rate highly in global rankings.

The country’s universities are absent from the Shanghai and QS world university rankings, and only one – Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech – was among the global top 800 universities according to the 2015 Times Higher Education World University Rankings published on 30 September.

The Global Competiveness Report 2015-2016, published by the World Economic Forum on 30 September, rates Morocco 122 out of 144 countries for the quality of its education system, 102 for the quality of research institutions and 74 for the quality of maths and science education.

Salem said that reforming Morocco’s universities must be top of the agenda in order to prepare the country to implement its teacher development mission, otherwise it would be “like asking an old and sick man to win a marathon”.

* Click here for the Arabic version of the Reform of the Moroccan School report.