Morocco PM slams his party for calling French-based education syetem

Abdelilah Benkirane
Leader of the Justice and Development Party, Abdelilah Benkirane speaks to the media in Rabat, Morocco on October 8, 2016.

Former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane criticised the Justice and Development Party (JDP) following a parliamentary committee’s approvals of a French-based education draft.

This came in statements by the former secretary-general of the JDP late on Saturday night.

Last Tuesday a parliamentary committee at the House of Representatives approved by majority on an Education Reform Act, which included an article which allows for the teaching of certain subjects in French.

“Arabic is a matter of principle. It is unfortunate and disgraceful that a party with an Islamic reference [the JDP] renounces the Arabic language in education and replaces it with the language of colonialism,” Benkirane said of his party.

“It is understandable that there are pressures in politics, but there are limits that people should not retreat from,” he continued, warning that this may cause voters to move away from supporting the party.

“The Arabic language is about principles … we are not the first to be subjected to pressures. Pressures were also exercised on the Socialist Union of Popular Forces Party and the Independence Party [when they had led the previous governments].”

Article 2 of the Education Reform Act provides for “the adoption of linguistic rotation”, by teaching certain subjects, in particular scientific and technical, or parts of certain subjects in one or more foreign languages.

In its fifth chapter, the Moroccan Constitution stipulates that “Arabic shall remain the official language of the state, which shall protect and develop it and improve its uses. Amazigh is also an official language of the state, as a common asset for all Moroccans without exception.”