Sunday, September 13, 2020

Morocco Shuts Down Unauthorised American School in Fez After 17 Years


Morocco Shuts Down Unauthorised American School in Fez After 17 Years. Parents are frustrated and lost after the sudden closure of the institution three days before the start of a new school year.


Parents of students enrolled in the American School in Fez are in shock after the institution suddenly shut its doors over a “work authorisation” problem.

The school’s administration took to Facebook to announce it will be closing due to a “problem” with the education academy in Fez.

The American School in Fez has been running for 17 years without authorization from the local education authorities.

However, the school maintained in its announcement that it had its paperwork “complete and filed with the academy [of Fez].”

The statement said the school is “working with the Academy of Fez to resolve the issue. We still have our American accreditation with Advanced Ed/ Cognia,” an American NGO and accreditation organisation.

The school confirmed that middle and high school students can still continue with their studies online.

“We invite all of our elementary, middle, and high school students to start classes with us online on Monday, September 7th,” the statement said.

A source from the academy, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed to Morocco World News that the institution is closing due to its lack of necessary legal paperwork.

The decision to close the school a mere three days before the start of the 2020-2021 academic year left parents confused and concerned about their pupils’ future.

Need for quick intervention

Speaking to Morocco World News about the decision, two parents expressed shock and regret with the decision taking place without notice.

Haroun Zinat, a father of two children who had been enrolled at the American School of Fez for three years, expressed frustration over the sudden decision.

The 50-year-old father told MWN that there was no notice from the school before the decision.

“How can this decision take place three days from the start of the school season?” Zinat asked, astonished.

He said the school is a well-known education facility that provides a high-quality level of education to students in Morocco.

“A lot of students graduated from the school and managed to join international universities, like Cambridge,” he pointed out, expressing his satisfaction with the school system.

He wondered how it is possible for a school to operate for 17 years without authorization. “If they had just told us before like at the end of the previous school year, we could have managed. What are we supposed to do now?” Zinat lamented.

He added that the school did not issue any statement or further notice apart from what was published on Facebook to announce the shutdown.

“If they can just give us this year. I hope authorities can wait on us for this year only, so we can have time to find another school. I hope they can find a solution, though,” Zinat said.

“If there is no solution, we are planning to go to the academy to see what we could do.”

A call for authorisation

Hind Oumlal, a mother of two, also expressed shock at the sudden closure in an interview with MWN.

Oumlal is calling on education authorities to provide the school with an authorization, expressing satisfaction with the school.

“Several students graduated and went to well-known schools from the American School in Fez. They have a great education system,” she said.

She also asked how the school can operate without authorization while high-level officials attended its inauguration ceremony.

Parents pay MAD 52,000 ($5,675) annually for primary school, while students in middle school pay MAD 54,000 ($5,893).

Fees for high school are estimated at MAD 56,000 ($6,112), Oumlal said.

Accreditation without authorisation

The American School in Fez received US accreditation in 2015.

The school’s website lists several other accreditations: “We offer an American high school diploma accredited by the NCA Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement, NWAC, SACSCommission on Accreditation and School Improvement under AdvancED.”

The school also says it works with Morocco’s Ministry of Education.

However, the list of American schools on the US Embassy in Morocco’s website does not feature the American School in Fez. The embassy lists only the American Schools in Tangier, Rabat, and Marrakech.

MWN contacted the embassy to ask if the American School in Fez is among the institutions recognised by the US. The embassy said the school has no affiliation with the US Embassy in Morocco or the US Department of State.

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