We visited El Yakada, a private school in Rabat. The principal, Laila Chiadmi, had lived in the US for quite a while. This school was on the coast, and taught K-12. Funding comes from parents. The facilities seemed nicer, as the photos show. Classes were still physically small, with tightly placed desks. The students were sweet, very respectful (standing as we entered the room). One sixth grade class boasted their ability to speak Classical (Standard) Arabic (or Fusha), Moroccan Arabic (Derija), French, and English. A few knew Spanish or Italian, too. Wow.
Contrasting the two makes for interesting conversation. Not all is as it seems. Private schooling for children is highly desired by parents. If at all possible, parents will afford this expense. We discussed possible biases for students to be given higher marks here (to please paying parents?). For well-performing public schools (like Moulay Youseff High School), it is as much about having an effective administration that knows how to partner with other stakeholders in the community for funding.
The classrooms are so small. They sit two to a desk mostly. Barely room for the teacher to walk about in the front of the class. Many students stay in the same classroom all day as teachers switch classes. Recess is 10 minutes. Small breaks during the day. Technology is present, but underutilized. Some students have phones, but were not out in class. I found no usable WiFi.
After lunch we visited the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), a teacher training school. Two exchange students studying here from the US greeted us. Six of their students guided us around the campus, then spoke to us in a discussion session about their experiences and ambitions. Mr. Nourddine Bendouqi spoke about his organization, Moroccan Association of Teachers of English (MATE). These two organizations seem to be the most progressive educational groups here, desiring change in how teachers are evaluated and elevating English as imperative to the future of Moroccan students.