[lg policy] Minister: foreign languages are essentiaal

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri May 10 11:41:10 EDT 2019

Minister: Official Languages are Important, But Foreign Languages are

The Minister believes that there are more references for scientific and
technology research in foreign languages than the Arabic language.
[image: Moroccan Minister of Education Said Amzazi wants too ban
Minister of Education Said Amzazi
[image: Safaa Kasraoui]
 Safaa Kasraoui <https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/author/kasraoui-safaa/>
Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News.
May 9, 2019

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi
said that Morocco has a “balanced and harmonious” language policy that
preserves the position of all languages both the  foreign and official

Speaking at the Parliament on Tuesday, the minister announced that his
administration has already started to implement all the strategic
requirements  for education reform.

Amzazi said that the reform will encompass the much-debated language policy
He emphatically explained that the policy is part of  the strategic
implementation of the requirements and basic references of the Moroccan

The minister quoted the provisions of Chapter 5 of the Constitution, which
emphasized the importance of the Arabic and Amazigh (Berber) language for
Morocco. His point was that adopting foreign languages as for teaching
scientific subjects in schools does not equal total abandonment of the
country’s national languages.

Importance of foreign languages

While the constitution acknowledges the special importance of Arabic and
Amazigh, the minister argued, it also stresses the importance of  the
widely spoken foreign languages because they are essential for
communication, knowledge, and openness to different cultures and

Read Also: The Challenges of Morocco’s Many Languages Lead to Academic

Amzazi  said that the education strategic vision 2015-2030 “ensures the
presence of the two official national languages.”

The minister’s comments on the importance of foreign languages in the education
amid an intense debate about which language should be used in teaching
scientific subjects in Moroccan schools.

As the debate intensifies, however, it has also involved the role of
languages in affirming or questioning national identity, pride, and honor.

Several Moroccan politicians emphasize the importance of preserving the
official national languages in the education system. For other, more
left-leaning teachingscientific subjects
a more reasonable choice to propel Morocco in the era of global

In his speech before the Parliament, Amzazi attempted to convince the
parliament to vote  on the draft framework Law 51.17, a bill which he said
seeks to make students proficient in foreign languages.

The bill has been vigorously criticized by several politicians and scholars
defending Arabic language. They argued that adopting foreign languages in
schools will subsume Moroccan culture and identity.

In April the National Coalition for the Arabic Language launched a petition
to oppose Amzazi’s proposed draft law. The coalition also held a press
conference to oppose the government’s plans to prioritize French in some
subjects in Moroccan schools.

But the heavy criticism does not seem to have discouraged Amzazi. The
minister is adamant
teaching technology and science in foreign languages will enable the
Moroccan system to overcome the problems associated with the different
languages used in secondary schools and universities.

As far as Amzazi is concerned, foreign languages remain “essential for
scientific and technological research as they provide more references,
especially in technology, engineering, and scientific teaching.”


 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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