Morocco to teach Berber language in more schools

Morocco to teach Berber language in more schools
Four million more children are expected to receive Amazigh language lessons between now and the end of the decade.
1 min read
Berber activists have protested at the slow rollout of the Amazigh language in schools [Getty]

Morocco plans to make the teaching of the Berber language, Amazigh, more widespread in primary schools, the education minister said Thursday.

The decision will affect some four million children in 12,000 schools between now and the end of the decade, Chakib Benmoussa told reporters.

Morocco has the largest population of Berbers in North Africa, and Thursday's decision responds to a long-standing demand by activists to preserve the language, which is currently taught to just 330,000 pupils.

The move "will necessitate more specialist and bilingual teachers", Benmoussa said.

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Amazigh was recognised as an official language in the kingdom in 2011, alongside Arabic. French is also widely spoken.

In 2019, a law formalised the use of Amazigh in the administration, local authorities, public services, as well as in public and private education.

Its distinctive "tifinagh" script now appears on public buildings across the country, alongside Arabic and French.

Berber activists have criticised the slow deployment of their language, particularly in education.

Last month, King Mohamed VI declared that the Berber new year's day on January 13 would be an official public holiday from next year.