60. As a result of the various changes that have taken place in Morocco’s language policy since the coronation of King Mohammed VI, Amazigh is now recognized as an essential part of Moroccan culture, although this has not brought about its official legal recognition or its elevation to the status of official language.
61. Educational reform has played a fundamental role, in that the Charter has recognized the importance of Amazigh as an integral part of national culture, and has provided for its gradual introduction in schools. The Charter gives the regional education authorities the freedom to include Amazigh in that part of the curriculum that is left to the discretion of every regional education and training authority, and requires the national education authorities, gradually and to the extent possible, to provide the regions with the necessary support in terms of educators, teachers and teaching aids.42 The Charter also provides for facilities for Amazigh linguistic and cultural research and development, as well as for teacher training and the development of school programmes and curricula. The Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, established in 2001, is responsible for standardization of the Amazigh language, studies and research on Amazigh literature, culture and civilization, helping universities to set up centres for research and development in Amazigh language and culture, and teacher training. In 2003 Amazigh was introduced in 313 schools, with a commitment to universalize it by 2010.
62. During his mission the Special Rapporteur heard strong criticism of the shortage of teachers with the training and qualifications to teach Amazigh, and of the lack of recognition or compensation for the extra work the teaching of Amazigh involves for teachers. Comments were also made on the shortage of Amazigh textbooks and teaching aids; the frequent suspension of classes; the failure to provide the three hours per week stipulated for Amazigh teaching; and an unwillingness to introduce it in many schools. In the Special Rapporteur’s view it is very important to reinforce the measures adopted in order to ensure that Amazigh is in practice gradually introduced in schools.
2. Appropriate teacher training
63. Teachers have to follow several different types of training in order to obtain the qualifications required to teach; their basic training is supplemented by further training in seminars and courses in Morocco and abroad. Training for primary school teachers is provided by primary school training centres and for junior high school and high school teachers by regional teacher training centres. Several of the associations and teachers the Special Rapporteur met said it was true that the reform introduced a more active, child-centred form of teaching, but teachers did not have the teaching skills and methodology required for such an approach. He was also told on several occasions that a voluntary retirement scheme had resulted in the early departure of a large number of experienced teachers.
64. The Special Rapporteur notes the difficulties teacher training centres have in acquiring appropriate, up-to-date teaching methods. If Morocco intends to introduce the type of reform envisaged and described in the Charter, teacher training must be geared towards the human rights culture, the principles of gender equality and respect for cultural and religious diversity, while drawing on participatory teaching methods that are suited to the particular needs of students of differing abilities as well as on the requisite knowledge of new technologies and the Amazigh language and culture.
3. Human rights education
65. During his mission the Special Rapporteur was informed that the National Education Department was putting the final touches to its human rights education strategy under the National Platform for the promotion of human rights culture, adopted on 26 February 2007. The Platform should result in the drafting of a three-pronged national human rights plan of action covering human rights education; awareness-raising for the general public; and specialist training. The Department has adopted various measures with a view to the introduction of human rights education, in particular the establishment of a national human rights and citizenship commission to guide, coordinate, evaluate and monitor action plans on human rights and citizenship education, with the participation of the relevant social sectors, national institutions, international bodies and NGOs. The Department has set up a commission to assess whether the contents of school textbooks reflect human rights principles and values, and has decided to establish regional commissions to monitor and evaluate the universalization of human rights education in primary and secondary schools. Various measures have been adopted to encourage activities that bring human rights into school life, such as human rights clubs or forums for the pupils.
66. The Special Rapporteur wishes to stress that human rights education must promote the establishment of a universal culture conducive to the protection and development of human dignity, encourage schoolchildren to acquire the necessary skills to make human rights part of their daily lives, and foster diversity, equality, non-discrimination and the inclusion of all.43 67. The inclusion of human rights as a basic principle of education, as recommended in the Charter, must become a reality in schools, where corporal punishment continues to be inflicted despite its prohibition. The Special Rapporteur notes that there are already some obstacles to human rights education, including the fact that teachers do not receive sufficient training and that support is limited to references to textbooks. Furthermore, lessons often focus on the notion of citizenship and not on the content of international human rights instruments.
68. Several local associations informed the Special Rapporteur that the human rights education programme amounted in practice to handing out leaflets from the Ministry of Education and organizing human rights clubs, as mentioned above. However, the Special Rapporteur noted that some of the textbooks he consulted contained information on several international human rights instruments, although he was unable to ascertain whether this was part of a systematic human rights education programme that went beyond references to civic education or human rights activities conducted by local associations, the reform of school curricula, and the removal of sexist stereotypes from textbooks.