In Morocco, the Need for Girls’ Education

This piece was written by Mary Stucky, founder of Round Earth Media, before the Next Generation Journalism model was established. To read more about the model, visit the main site here.

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Originally posted on February 24, 2012

Educating girls probably has a greater transformative effect on a country than anything else one can do. — Nicholas Kristof, New York Times Columnist

In Ouarzazate, Morocco, on the edge of the Sahara Desert, more than a hundred girls are getting an education.  That’s unusual here.   Most village schools go only through the sixth grade and families are too poor to afford boarding school for their daughters.  An NGO, Association Tichka, runs the boarding school in Ouarzazate– it’s funded through a foundation set up by Morocco’s current king, Mohammed VI.

Our journalism students stopped in at the boarding school to talk to the young women who study there.  The students told the aspiring journalists that they miss their families, whom they see only on holidays, but consider the school to be a second home.  The young Moroccans seemed to be bright, enthusiastic, eager learners.

There is a crisis in education in Morocco, especially in rural areas.  Country-wide less than half of Morocco’s women can read and write.  Programs like Association Tichka’s are just a drop in a huge bucket of educational need.

Many experts say what is really needed in countries like Morocco is a concerted effort by government to provide schools and educational resources for each and every young person in the country and for the people to demand this of their government.  The Moroccan constitution proclaims it to be the right of every Moroccan to receive an education until the age of fifteen.  But there is a huge difference between what’s stated in lofty documents and the reality for millions of Moroccans.