Covid-19: Moroccans’ struggles and the hope of change after the Coronavirus outbreak
Covid-19 detonates school bills and exposes the fragility of the public education sector in Morocco. However, it proves to some extent what Moroccans are truly made of.
School inequalities in Morocco have never been more glaring than in times of confinement. As of March 16th, more than 8 million young Moroccans have faced the challenges of distance education, since all schools have closed to reduce chances of contamination during this outbreak. There are students for whom on-screen learning is obvious, they never miss online courses nor video-conferences. And those for whom remote classes as well as emails and digital assignments are a test; and above all what is mentioned, a financial burden for the family.
During this period, many families are suffering because the parents cannot go to work. Some of these families have chosen to educate their children in private schools, because of the quality gap between the private and public ones.
« This period means hell for many people, but not for me, I have been living it for the past 20 days » Says Abderrahim, a married Moroccan citizen who is in his mid-thirties, and father of two children who are not older than 12 years old.
« I had to pay my sons’ school this month using the money I put aside for delicate situations. Believe me, my sons would spend the rest of their lives in jail if they went to a public school, especially here in Sale »
Abderrahim is convinced that there is a significant difference between public and private schools. « Now I have to pay 10 additional dirhams each single day even if I have already paid the school fees. My children need internet to study remotely and it costs me an arm and a leg, besides I am lucky to have a wife who knows how to use whatsapp… »
Abderrahim works as a carpenter. Unfortunately, the location of his workshop did not help him pursue his work during the confinement. He had to shoot his workshop down during this sad period because it is located in a foci of assembly for many people. His wife was also unable to go to work and his only hope as he clearly said was the support money the government has given to them, but he admitted that it was not enough.
« I think that the government did a good job so far to prevent the propagation of the virus, but they did not pay attention to underprivileged people. Thankfully, I did not have to pay this month’s rent thanks to the housekeeper who was empathetic. It was the only good news I heard this month (laughing) », Abderrahim said that the housekeeper didn’t have to do that, however, this moment unveiled the true spirit of solidarity and brotherhood to him.
This family is an example of many others who are suffering because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, there are families whose situations are extremely worse. Covid-19 has caused thousands of deaths so far in the whole world as it’s the case in Morocco to a lower degree. The efforts and the wise decisions of the government had helped a lot, which is the case of most Moroccans who took the responsibility seriously in the first month of confinement.
Moroccans have proved that they are a civilized society, even if a minority did violate the law. Young people volunteer to help and don’t get afraid of the contamination, doctors and nurses are living far away from their children to protect other Moroccan children, the press is doing a great and honest job, soldiers, policeman’s, officers… and the list is still long.
Eventually, Moroccans are proving their capability to help develop their country, and hopefully after the end of this nightmare, they can be trusted by providing them and their children a respectful public education and health care. After all, honesty, solidarity and responsibility that we are looking at during this confinement are basic qualities for successful nations, and not a plan B instructions to get out of the situation.