48. In Morocco, 11 per cent of children aged between 7 and 14 (around 600,000) work; 372,000 of these are aged between 7 and 11, and 45 per cent of them are girls, according to official child labour statistics.32 However, these statistics do not include domestic chores in the category of work (economic activity), even though half the children and most of the girls aged 7 to 14 spend at least four hours a day doing such chores. Girls employed as domestic workers outside their own homes are not counted either, owing to the absence of reliable data.
49. According to various official surveys and as confirmed by several Government spokespersons, 84 per cent of children who work are employed in family farming and livestock breeding in rural areas.33 In urban areas, child workers are employed in the following sectors: carpet weaving, clothing and textiles; domestic service outside their own homes; crafts and ceramics; car repairs; garage work; wood, leather and ceramics. Other activities include selling cigarettes, car washing and shoe shining.34 50. In most cases children who work are deprived of their right to education and the mere fact of holding a job is contrary to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child workers are exposed to abuse, working conditions that are dangerous and harmful to their health, and sexual abuse.35 More than half the child workers aged below 15 have never been to school, and only 41 per cent of the remainder have completed the cycle of basic schooling.
51. The Moroccan Government has informed the Special Rapporteur of its firm political will to tackle the question of child labour with a view to its elimination. To this end, Morocco has ratified the ILO Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admissionto Employment, 1973 (No. 138), and the ILO Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, 1999 (No. 182); it is also signatory to the ILO Convention concerning the Restriction of Night Work of Children and Young Persons in Non Industrial Occupations, 1946 (No. 79). At the national level, Morocco amended its Labour Code in 2003 to prohibit children under 15 from working and children under 18 from being assigned hazardous tasks as well as to introduce certain other protection measures.36 52. The Special Rapporteur considers that integrating child workers under the age of 15 into the education system should be an immediate priority for the Government. He underlines the importance of strictly observing the prohibition against child labour among children under 15, which entails amending the law, since it applies to the formal sector only and not to the household or the informal sectors, where most child workers are employed, in particular the agricultural sector (and family livestock breeding) and the domestic services sector. The labour inspectors responsible for the enforcement of this prohibition are few in number, and do not have the necessary resources to conduct inquiries, as a result of which they cannot investigate child labour among children under 15 in households or families. Moreover, State measures need to be comprehensive and aimed at remedying poverty and economic vulnerability, above all in rural areas.
5. Street children 53. There are no official statistics concerning the number of street children, but according to some estimates there are between 30,000 and 40,000.37 At present, it is mainly NGOs that provide them with shelter and assistance, since State measures are apparently inadequate. The absence of official statistics that would help to shape essential public policies for dealing with street children is one of the shortcomings noted by the NGOs. The stigmatization of these children is reflected in the strong hostility shown by school heads, teachers and parents to their reintegration into schools.
54. Under the National Plan of Action for Children 2006-2015, the Office of the Secretary of State for the Family, Child Welfare and Persons with Disabilities is responsible for dealing with the situation of street children. The Plan notes that the most common causes of children ending up on the streets are family conflicts, parental neglect, sexual abuse within the family, economic exploitation, school violence and the rural exodus.38 Measures to be taken under the Plan between 2006 and 2015 include the decriminalization of vagrancy, the establishment of transit centres for the rehabilitation and reintegration of street children into society and sociological studies on the impact of poverty on large families.
55. The Special Rapporteur considers it essential for the State to provide better safeguards and protection for these children’s rights in practice. It has a duty to do so; it should not delegate the task to local associations, but should adopt policies and measures to ensure the immediate reintegration of these children into school.
C. Acceptability and adaptability
56. The Special Rapporteur notes with satisfaction that improving quality is one of the main objectives of the educational reform under way in Morocco. As the Minister of Education explained, improving the quality of teaching is a far-reaching and complex process, which includes making teaching more democratic, reforming school curricula, training teachers, bringing teaching tools up to date and introducing new technology to the classroom.39
57. Acceptability refers to the standard of teaching as well as to its relevance and cultural acceptability.40 58. The right to education also entails the obligation for the State to guarantee the adaptability of education, which means devising, and providing resources for, curricula geared to the current needs, not only of societies and communities, but also of students, within their diverse social and cultural settings, in a changing world.41 In this connection the Special Rapporteur welcomes the revision of textbooks and schoolbooks on different subjects undertaken by the national commission in charge of assessing school textbooks, and its subcommissions, with a view to assuring quality, removing sexist stereotypes and analysing content to ensure respect for human rights. He also welcomes the billions of dirhams invested to launch the three-year programme to include communication technologies as a subject in the education system.
59. The Special Rapporteur wishes to stress four major challenges stemming from Morocco’s obligation to guarantee the acceptability and adaptability of education: introducing the teaching of Amazigh; teacher training; introducing human rights education; and introducing the gender perspective and the principle of gender equality in the education system and school life.