Saadeddine Othmani: Arabic enters university education under compulsory law in Morocco for first time

Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani defended, Sunday, Morocco’s education reform law, which has sparked widespread controversy, calling it “a great gain for the country.”

This came during his meeting with students of institutes and practical and technical schools, at the Forum of “Tomorrow’s Stuff Academy” held in Rabat.

“In contrast to the exaggerated fuss about the law, for the first time, the Arabic language is introduced in the university education under the compulsory law,” Othmani said.

The majority of higher schools and universities teach in French, while the new law stipulates that at least one subject must be taught in Arabic in various scientific and medical institutes and faculties.

The law also provides for the possibility of introducing units in Arabic, French, Spanish or English.

On 22n July, the Moroccan House of Representatives passed a majority vote on the draft law, which constitutes the framework for Morocco’s system of education, training and scientific research.

READ: Moroccan parliament votes to bolster French language 

The law has sparked widespread debate over what civilian and political actors described as “the return of the Frenchification of the Moroccan educational system.”

The law provides for the adoption of the principle of linguistic rotation in some scientific subjects, which oppositions interpreted as the reapproval of the French language.

“The framework of the law does not stipulate at all teaching all the subjects in French, but rather insists on linguistic rotation with one or more foreign languages,” Othmani said in this context.

He continued: “We are putting a law for the future, which would open many potentials and areas, and it is arbitrary to interpret the linguistic rotation only in favour of the French language.”

Othmani pointed out that “he cannot change the law, even if he makes public petitions about it.”

“The law has been passed on to the parliament and the government is incapable of any intervention because it cannot intervene in the parliament,” he continued.

After the House of Representatives’ approval on the draft law, it will be referred to the House of Counsellors (the second chamber of the Parliament), then published in the official newspaper to be entered into force.