Monday, April 18, 2016

A Win for English is a Win for Morocco

According to Rachid Belmokhtar, the Minister of National Education and Vocational Training, Moroccan students will begin studying English, as a part of a newly enhanced language curriculum. Experts say this is a positive step for Morocco
“For Moroccans today, the English language is an important goal. The ministry of education has implemented an important program which will begin in primary school and teach English language to students.” - Rachid Belmokhtar

In a recent article in Morocco World News,  Ali Anthony Bell, the  Head of Studies at the BKHS Language Centre in Casablanca stressed the importance of English in Morocco's future development.

"We are faced with a dilemma here in Morocco." Bell said,  "85% of Moroccans surveyed believe that English should replace French as the 2nd language; however, the Cultural, Economic, and Political ties with France and the French language are so strong that this change is difficult for many people to imagine.

While I completely agree with the importance of making English a priority and integrating it into the primary school curriculum, I do not agree that English should replace French as L2. In my opinion, eliminating French will do more harm than good, also creating a communication gap between the generations.

Bell says it is his sincere belief that Morocco, for the sake of its future, should make English a priority and start including it as of the first year, alongside, and not in competition with Arabic or French. Keeping one’s roots is also essential. All of the languages spoken in Morocco are a part of its identity, and replacing one language with another in the educational system, would be a fundamental error. English should not be a replacement for either French or Arabic, or even Amazigh for that matter; it is a complementary language skill.

Bell points out that there are some 25,000 common words between French and English, 99% of which mean the same thing. This is another reason for keeping the French language alive in Morocco; it can only help in the acquisition of the English language for many people.

He goes on to say that every new language we speak opens new possibilities, and likewise, our possibilities are limited by our languages. We are called to expand the limits of our horizons to encompass the whole world, and English is the only language which has this possibility. For the next generation, and for the future of the planet, let us make global communication a priority.

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