Education debate reaches north Africa
MEKNES, Morocco - As the debate over Amendment 3 in mid-Missouri reaches its decision point, a nationwide labor strike in Morocco Wednesday left many classrooms empty as teachers joined throngs of other workers in taking a day off.
The strike was an attempt to bring attention to what Mouhtat Driss, a professor at Moulay Ismail University in Meknes, described as unfair pay, retirement plans, and other problems.
"I never work when my syndicate tells me we're on strike, so I stopped," Driss said, referring to his teacher's union.
Driss did not go to the university Wednesday, nor did any of his fellow professors, he said.
"We have many problems in this society," Driss said. "Salary has not been augmented for a long time."
Driss was one of many workers who did not work Wednesday. The Moroccan Labor Union claimed on its website more than 83% of the Moroccan professional sector participated in the strike.
"In Rabat, in Casablanca, we don't have the tramway. It's stopped," Driss said. "The bus is stopped. Also, the taxi drivers some they worked, some they stopped."
The labor union said the strike affected not only public transportation but health care, elementary and higher education, banks, and more.
The strike also provided an opportunity for teachers like Driss to bring attention to what they hope will be effective education reform in the near future. Driss described problems with direction in education, saying teachers were not effectively setting students up for life post-graduation and said he didn't feel schools had the proper vision.
"This government is always talking, talking... but they don't do anything," Driss complained. "We hope to have a good future for our students, for our family, for our people also in Morocco. Why not?"