|Photo credits: CARE International Maroc|
"Any actions aimed at improving the primary education system cannot have sufficient impact without a social accountability approach, which consists in a proactive process of citizen participation in good governance through a two-way deliberative exchange of information between citizens and the state". It was with this statement, as reported by the media, that Said Amzazi, Minister of Education, Vocational Training, and Scientific Research of Morocco, opened the national conference on Education held in Rabat.
“Social Accountability in the Education Sector: The Primary School from the Agreement to the Execution” was the theme of the event organized by CARE International Maroc on March 15th. The organization has more than 10 years of experience in the education sector in Morocco and since 2014 it has implemented the “Linking Education and Accountability for Development” (LEAD) project, in collaboration with the Near East Foundation (NEF) and the National Federation of Parent Associations (FNAPEM).
In the past years, Morocco has embarked in revitalizing its decentralization reform with several implications for the education sector. As part of the reform in the country, the Moroccan Minister of Education said, the Regional Education Offices (AREFs in French) have been granted increased administrative and financial autonomy to set education policies at the local level and create new opportunities to enhance public participation and accountability. To meet these goals, Minister Amzazi underlined, it was imperative to improve the communication and interaction between parents and civil society on one hand and the educational authorities in primary education on the other.
Meanwhile, World Bank Group (WBG) commitment to the social sectors in Morocco is based on a long-standing partnership. Fadila Caillaud, WB’s Program Leader in Maghreb Region, made that clear in her speech, noting that, so far, the LEAD project was implemented in fifty schools in the Casablanca and Marrakesh regions. Through the project, the various actors in the education sector have benefited from tailored training to help them accomplish their responsibilities and to support the development and improvement of their schools.
The LEAD project, financially supported by the World Bank-led Global Partnership for Social Accountability, was launched to generate improvements in the education sector by strengthening collaboration between Parent Associations (PA) and education authorities to improve decision-making processes at all levels. The project involves the design and implementation of participatory assessments and monitoring tools, as well as other social accountability tools. The project has tailored a contextualized collaborative social accountability tool called ‘Statement of School Agreement’ (in Arabic Bayan Attaakod Al-Madrassi, BAM) in order to collect collaboratively information on school equipment, needs and resources, and set goals to fix each primary school priorities agreed among the school key actors (Director, Teachers, Parents and Students). This aims to generate user feedback in the education sector and support a more dynamic and problem-driven attitude among the school stakeholders at all levels.
Implemented in two AREFs - Casablanca-Settat (direction of Sidi Bernoussi) and Marrakech-Safi (Direction El Haouz) – the project to date achieved that:
1) At 26schools, Parents’ Associations (PAs), teachers, students and Principals use the participatory ‘Statement of School Agreement’ tool to increase transparency on schools’ available resources, and jointly develop plans to address the main constraints identified. The mechanism will be deployed in additional 24 schools during the 2017-18 school year.
2) 26 PAs (950 parents, including 495 mothers) have been trained on social accountability, NGO management, gender-sensitive approaches and governance. This training program will reach 24 PAs during the school year 2017-18.
3) 316 officials (including 91 women) received training to maintain better communication and collaboration with the PAs.
The event was covered by Le Matin, who published the following article in French: