The Moroccan education system has been gradually improving in recent years, with great strides being made to achieve universal primary education and increased enrollment in secondary schools, as well as improved literacy throughout the country. Data in 2012 reveals that 91 percent of youth between the ages of 15-24 were literate, a dramatic increase from the corresponding statistic in 2008, when only 78 percent of the same demographic could read and write.
Despite this progress, the country still struggles with high secondary school dropout rates. Only 15 percent of Moroccan first graders will go on to graduate from high school. This situation, paired with Morocco’s recent push to diversify its economy and include more complex industries, has ultimately led to frustration amongst employers who are unable to find personnel equipped with the skills needed to work in these fields, as well as increasing frustration from unemployed youth who are unable to find jobs.
In March, the Government of Morocco and MCC hosted lotteries in the two regions to choose the schools that would benefit from the program. Representatives from the Moroccan government and MCC attended the events, along with students, teachers and parents from the regions. These were the last two lotteries for the program, with the first selection event taking place in Tetouan in December 2016.
The selection process, as noted above, was straightforward: each eligible school was assigned a number, which was recorded on paper and also inscribed on a wooden block. Once all the blocks had been assigned to each school, they were placed inside a bag. Students themselves were amongst the individuals to draw from the bag to select the schools, a feature that reflects the nature of this program in allowing students, along with their parents and communities, to play a more hands-on role in their schools.
While different techniques for the choosing of schools were considered, the teams from the Government of Morocco and MCC decided that the old-fashioned way, drawing a school at random from a bag, was the most fair and transparent method to conduct the selection process. The schools were selected from a pool of eligible schools in eight provinces, with a balance maintained between rural and urban schools as well as middle schools and high schools.