The Oldest University in the World Progresses into the 21st Century

When Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956, the government embarked on a series of reforms designed to improve the vocational and technical training and education in the country. After inheriting an education system from the French, as well as a traditional Koranic school structure, Morocco has developed a three-track education system, adding a technical educational track designed to produce the skilled people that Morocco will need to develop their infrastructure to compete with first world nations.

There are fourteen major public universities in Morocco, in fact, the world’s oldest university, the Karaouine University at Fes, which has been teaching since 859, is located in Morocco. There are also a large number of private universities in Morocco, but at the moment the enrollment rate in private institutions remains low. Admission to the public universities requires only that students have passed their high school exams, the baccalaureate, and this has resulted in a steady 11% enrollment rate for several years. In recent years, however, there has been a move towards engineering and medical education, and courses in these fields require that students pass special tests and training before being accepted into them. Another field that is now being developed in Moroccan higher education is business management, with a steady increase in enrollments in the past decade.

In an effort to meet the demands of a world that is ever more dependent upon technology, Morocco has shifted much of its educational focus onto information and communication technologies with 2000 new graduates in these fields each year. There have also been initiatives to implement a sharing of resources across the higher educational system and for a greater accountability of the public universities. The efforts at modernizing the Moroccan higher education system, including improving technology and internet access, have extended to creating partnerships with private companies such as Just Host reviews, as well as with Canadian universities and many European universities making joint degrees with many of their well-known institutions possible for Moroccan students.

There are still many difficulties that need to be overcome with the overall education system if Morocco is going to succeed with its program for educating the population. The adult literacy rate in Morocco is around 40%, with a high disparity between genders, and the Berbers are disadvantaged by the unfamiliarity with the Arabic language that is used in primary education in the country. There is also a problem with the high emigration rate among skilled workers and, with the highest migrant populations in Europe, Moroccans are losing a large percentage of their most educated people to more developed countries with better career options.

In spite of these obstacles, Morocco is working towards eradicating the illiteracy problems in the country, and is forging ahead with developing a strong base of technologically skilled people to help build up its infrastructure as it becomes a more developed nation. Because of its close ties with European institutions, the educational tracks open to Moroccan university students has seen them develop a strong information and technology sector that will eventually offer graduates an incentive to stay in Morocco to develop their careers.


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