An ambitious project that is running in slow motion!

Celebrated on September 8 every year since 1967, International Literacy Day aims to remind the public of the importance of this issue as a “factor of dignity and human rights”. It is also an opportunity to advance the global literacy agenda “for a more educated and sustainable society”.

In Morocco, this project, which began several decades ago, has taken a significant turn since the creation in 2016 of the National Agency for the Fight Against Illiteracy (ANLCA), whose mission is to guide and coordinate the activities of the various actors in the field of the fight against illiteracy through an “inclusive approach to literacy programs and their continuous adaptation according to the needs of learners”. The first 2017-2021 roadmap, put in place by the ANLCA, has made it possible in this regard to total some 5,481,788 beneficiaries through the various programs put in place.

Notable advances

The positive results resulting from the efforts made at the national level in this area can be observed in particular through the figures and statistics of the High Commission for Planning. Thus, the overall national literacy rate increased from 52.3% in 2004 to almost 64.1% in 2019. For men, the literacy rate reached 74.6% in 2019 (compared to 65.6 % in 2004), while that of women reached 53.9% in 2019 (against 39.6% in 2004).

In its report entitled “Moroccan women in figures: 20 years of progress”, the High Commission for Planning had also highlighted significant progress in terms of access to education: the enrollment rate of girls aged 15 to 17 in 2020 reached 90.5% in urban areas (compared to 56.3% in 2000) and 39.2% in rural areas (compared to 6.1% in 2020). For boys in the same age group, these rates reached 85.7% in urban areas (against 70.3% in 2000) and 50.5% in rural areas (against 14.7% in 2000). In Morocco, as in the rest of the world, literacy projects have however been greatly impacted by the health crisis from 2021.

Impact of the pandemic

In this sense, UNESCO warned in a press release published a few days ago that “in the aftermath of the pandemic, nearly 24 million learners (worldwide, editor’s note) may never return to formal education. , of which 11 million are expected to be girls and young women”. A statement which at the national level had been confirmed during the 7th session of the Board of Directors of the National Agency for the Fight against Illiteracy (ANLCA).

The former head of government who was present at this event then conceded that “the exceptional situation has affected various aspects of the management of literacy programs, as is the case for the rest of the components of the education system. -training”. Faced with this problem, UNESCO recommends enriching and transforming existing learning spaces through an integrated approach in order to “enable literacy learning from a lifelong learning perspective”. .

Outlook 2026

The health crisis, however, represented an opportunity in terms of innovation since Morocco, like other countries across the globe, emerged with new digital learning tools. Between improving access to schooling, mitigating disparities between urban and rural areas, optimizing the framework and means of adult learning, the various literacy projects and activities in our country aim to reduce the overall rate of illiteracy at the national level to less than 10% by 2026.

“There are obviously a lot of challenges associated with achieving this goal. School reform is a priority project in our country, which has made significant progress, but which also faces many obstacles. Access to education in rural areas remains one of the biggest challenges for the government,” said Abdelmajid Fassi Fihri, member of the House of Representatives and member of the Education, Culture and Communication Commission.

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