Morocco's protesting teacher trainees promise to 'surprise' the government

Morocco's protesting teacher trainees promise to 'surprise' the government
Morocco's teacher trainees will escalate their protests and continue to boycott training programmes after failing to reach an agreement over controversial government decrees.
2 min read
08 February, 2016
Morocco's teacher trainees will escalate their protest activities [AFP]
Morocco's teacher trainees have promised to "surprise" the government after failing to reach an agreement over planned education cuts, a source from the National Coordination Committee told The New Arab.

The teacher trainees will also escalate their protest activities and continue their boycott of the national training programmes.

The latest escalation comes after representatives of teacher trainees and the government failed to agree on a solution for the current crisis, with each party insisting on their demands.

Abdelouafi Laftit, the governor of Rabat, chaired a three-hour meeting between the two parties on Thursday, during which officials rejected the teacher trainees' demand to revoke or amend two controversial government decrees that cut the funding for teacher training by half and separated training from recruitment.

The decree will force teacher trainees to sit for a recruitment test at the end of their training period, which would determine whether they get officially hired or not.

The governor also said that the request to restore the training grants to its full amount was rejected due to "technical difficulties".

The meeting concluded with Laftit stressing that his proposals were the government's "final offer", while teacher trainees insisted on their demands and said they would continue their boycott.
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In January, the crisis took a dark turn when security forces violently dispersed peaceful demonstrations by teacher trainees protesting the government decrees.

Dozens of trainee teachers were injured, drawing local and international condemnation.

"Clubbing and tossing stones at peaceful demonstrators would fall well outside the realm of lawful means of dispersing a peaceful demonstration," Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East and North Africa director of Human Rights Watch, said at the time.

"The Moroccan authorities should make sure the police and security forces don't use unnecessary violence against demonstrators and to hold accountable anyone who does."

The violent events, later referred to as Black Thursday, were also condemned by the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

"The attack on the protesting trainee teachers is a brutal assault on the right to freedom of expression that is guaranteed in all the international charters and conventions," Cairo-based human rights group said in a statement.

"It is a violation of the right to peaceful protests, and attempt to impose decrees and laws that affect the citizens' lives forcibly and violently, which are completely outdated methods."