Tears, fears and some happiness

April 23, 2017

Some girls have been crying for hours, others feel relief and some are simply happy. After weeks if not months of uncertainty and fearfulness, the final results of the first trimester are in. Grades vary from average to good and bad. But to be honest, most were variations on bad. Surprisingly, the girls who have studied hardest and are continually extremely motivated, have brought in the worst results. But maybe things are not as surprising as they seem.

Biology and physics aren’t the easiest subject matters taught at university. More importantly, these are some of the exact sciences that are taught in Arabic in high school, while the lingua franca changes into French at university faculties.

This sudden swop of the working language makes victims. Many victims. A large proportion of Moroccan high school graduates leaves school with poor French. Those who have good grades in hard sciences get into trouble because at university their subject is taught in a language they do not master fully. To help our students balance this destructive educational policy, Riad Moustaqbel has introduced French language classes. Because even though French is not an official Moroccan language, it is the primary language of commerce and economics, culture, sciences and medicine. Without mastery of the French language you can forget about finding a job in many sectors of Moroccan society. Call it a very tenacious effect of colonialism.

Our students have quite a bit on their plate language wise. In addition to their mother tongue Tachelhit (their Berber language), they have to master both colloquial and classical Arabic, they have to learn French, and of course they cannot do without English. Bit much, five languages, but it is reality and since languages are fun, and you can never know one too many, we try to make the best of it. So house mother Malika’s former career as a teacher of French comes in very handy. She speaks exclusively French with the girls and gives several classes a week. Everyone at Riad Moustaqbel is working hard to improve the results in the coming trimester. The girls first and foremost.