The challenges of public schools are many, now that it is accessible to all social classes. It must honor differences without compromising quality; provide learner-centered instruction within democratic and participatory management; provide a richer living environment for everyone, including youth with special needs; etc.
These challenges are exacerbated in rather centralized education systems where stakeholders tend to wait for solutions to be developed elsewhere-i.e., higher up the hierarchical chain-before implementing them. Such challenges become even more complex when experienced under the pressure of demographics. In Morocco, for example, nearly 400,000 young people leave the education system without a diploma nor employable skills.
It is precisely in Morocco that the MILLENIUM CHALLENGE CORPORATION, based in the United States, has chosen to invest in two projects managed locally by the MILLENIUM CHALLENGE ACCOUNT-MOROCCO (MCA). These projects support the desire for change expressed by the DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL AND TECHNICAL TRAINING.
To achieve its objectives, the MCA hired C2D’s technical expertise. A team of experts, from Canada as well as Morocco, implemented deployed a strategy based on three main axes: a participatory approach, listening to local stakeholders; support for gender and social inclusion (GSi); and a focus on issues related to the environment, social issues, health and safety (ESHS).
During the last two school years, C2D has supported 34 secondary schools in a school district covering the northern tip of Morocco (Tangiers, Tetouan and Al Hoceima), thus spanning a wide range of socio-economic realities.
In the past, one would have measured the performance of a school district by that of its best students. Today, under the growing influence of international rankings (such as those of the OECD), it is measured by its more or less inclusive character. A school district’s performance is a function of its ability to honor the principle of equal opportunities for all.
Celebrating the brightest achievers is so much easier than giving everyone else a boost - including those who have: non-academic difficulties (poverty, verbal or physical abuse, bullying, harassment, addiction); disruptions of life (resulting from economic or ecological migration); emotional problems; chronic absenteism; persistent learning delays; learning disabilities, physical disabilities, etc.
It is in this context that tools have been made available to the institutions. Tools developed to guide the planning, implementation and monitoring-evaluation of integrated improvement plans. These tools guide stakeholders in the diagnosis, planning and action, in order to improve all aspects of a high school, such as infrastructure, management, pedagogy, school life, GIS and ESHS. Thus, the educational offer is no longer simply a matter of government authorities, but a public affair.