Friends of Schools Association – Morocco
A Pupil’s Dream
Ahmed could not attend school in Tamesluht “because our house is far away, and I work with my father in the field.”
This is a painful reality in which an entire generation is at risk of being deprived of education, which is a natural and fundamental right. In addition to hundreds of boys and girls being denied schooling, many have to travel long distances to attend secondary school. This is the situation in Tamesluht, where there is only one secondary school in an area populated by 30,000 inhabitants, thereby causing many pupils to drop out of school unless they can afford to go to Marrakech or Amizmiz every day. Poverty deepens inequality among people, as the children’s parents often cause them to seek employment prematurely to help provide for the family, effectively preventing them from attending school.
To counter this reality, the Friends of Schools Association was founded by 25 members to address three key pillars; providing guidance and mentoring pupils to continue their education through the baccalauréat level (Secondary School Certificate), and registering for the exams, training and creating personal profiles for pupils, and preparing young men and women with basic skills of communication and leadership.
|The Association believes that learning is part of both human needs and development goals alike|
The association understood the need to improve education in the region. Many young men and women demonstrate their inquisitiveness and thirst for knowledge. More than anything else, they and their families want them to attend school. The challenges are enormous, however. The Association sought to mobilize and organize specific advocacy campaigns concerning public schools that lack clean sanitation facilities. When latrines are not available, and access to sanitary supplies is limited, young women would miss school, thereby decreasing their academic performance and making them as a result, less likely to attend and graduate secondary school. This, in turn, limits their options in the job market. Without the prospect of earning an independent income, efforts to achieve gender equality are hindered.
The Association’s primary concern was to monitor the main problems in the education sector, such as the challenge of accessing schools, and the right to identification documents, given that over 200 enrolled pupils did not have adequate identification documents which formalized their registration at school. The association held training workshops using therapeutic theater and music. Students received guidance to move on to secondary school and benefited from academic mentoring. The association also launched a local forum which entailed several workshops on the topics of dignity, equality, fundamental freedoms, and the human rights situation. It offered an empowerment opportunity for students who had dropped out.
Together with the trained youth, the Association was involved in national campaigns and initiatives in collaboration with university students, relying on self-financing and partnerships with national and international associations and educational institutions.
- Some 70 pupils benefited from the Association’s activities.
- Advocacy campaigns regarding school transportation in remote areas were organized.
- Advocacy campaigns were organized, leading to the improvement of sanitation facilities in four educational institutions.
- The Friends of Schools Association was involved in the committee to evaluate the National Equality Plan, the findings of which were to be communicated to parliamentarians.
- Children without identification documents were registered in the civil status books in the Marrakesh-Safi region.
- Initiatives were developed to enable distance learning in rural areas.
Education is the Foundation of Development
Education as the foundation of development is the approach endorsed by the Friends of Schools Association, whereby it works to ensure equal opportunities for education, training and empowerment in poor and rural areas. The Association holds that each human has the right to learn and grow in an environment where his health and safety are of utmost importance. Children and youth must have safe and unrestricted access to education, and schools themselves must provide an adequate and conducive learning environment.