Morocco’s Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research in partnership with the French public interest group “GIP FUN-MOOC” has developed Morocco Digital University (MUN). The project which is the first of its kind in Africa is dedicated to massive open online courses (MOOC).
The project aims to develop small private online courses group (SPOC) and to generalize the use of information technologies in higher education. It is also an effort to promote cooperation between Moroccan and French universities in distance learning. The use of MOOCs is intended to solve issues related to overcrowding in universities as well as the quality of training and insertion of young graduates into the workplace.
The platform offers content in various fields like education and training, engineering science, computer science, economics and finance, basic sciences, health, languages, management, entrepreneurship, environment, human sciences, and law.
The French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, noted that the platform will allow anyone, even people with disabilities, to obtain a diploma, carry out professional re-conversions or consolidate their knowledge.
In a 2014 Unesco report, Morocco ranked among the 21 worst countries with deplorable education, with more than half of public school students failing to acquire necessary reading and mathematical skills. Also, a World Economic Forum report in 2015 placed Morocco at 101 out of 140 countries in the quality of education index.
Despite efforts by the government, which have involved large sums of money, public education continues to decline. Illiteracy rates are alarmingly high: around 50 per cent for women and 30 per cent for men. At the same time, investment in public infrastructure remains low and qualified human resources are scarce. This is hindering the country’s potential for economic development, especially in rural areas, and contributing to bigger national problems like poverty and religious extremism.
These public grassroots educational issues could be addressed if the digital university becomes a success, and for the wider society, the system will produce employable graduates. With the digital University, Moroccan students will be in a more comfortable environment, with flexible study time, which will enhance concentration.
By Tobiloba Ishola.