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Morocco: Teachers on the street for months

This Sunday again, several thousand teachers demonstrated in Rabat to defend free education and protest against the status of contract workers.

They have the same salary, about 5,000 dirhams per month – 460 euros. But since the implementation of a recruitment policy in fixed-term contracts started in 2016, there are 55,000 teachers who do not have the status of civil servant. For months now, these precarious teachers, supported by permanent colleagues, have been fighting for the same rights, especially regarding pensions. This Sunday again, several thousand people marched in the streets of Rabat to defend free education and protest against the status of contract workers.

The demonstration dispersed unequivocally after several hours of parade to Parliament in the Moroccan capital. A few hundred trade unionists and far-left party activists were present, among a crowd almost as large as the day before. On Saturday, several thousand contract teachers, men and women, mostly aged 20 to 30, had already gathered in Rabat, as now many weekends. But the dispersion had not been smooth.

The police used batons and water cannons against young contract workers who wanted to spend the night in front of Parliament after several hours of demonstrations. About sixty light wounded were transported to the hospital on Saturday night, according to Othmane Zeriouch, a coordinator of the contract workers. On February 20, a demonstration coinciding with the anniversary of a pro-democracy movement born in 2011 during the Arab Spring had already been dispersed by the police and injured several people.

Many of the contractors also went on strike on March 3 and the various proposals made by the government were all considered insufficient. Public education in Morocco is the subject of recurrent criticisms: low level of students and high drop-out, overcrowded classes, closed schools in large cities to make way for real estate projects, continued privatization of the sector … Very controversial, the a new law on education, which has been under debate for several months, plans to reserve free education for the poorest families.

A meeting was scheduled this Sunday evening to decide on the follow-up to the movement.

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