The ten lessons learned from Morocco’s participation in the International Program for the Assessment of Learners, Pisa 2022

On December 5, the results of the 2022 session of the Program for International Learner Assessment (PISA) were released, which is the second in which Morocco participates after the one in which it participated for the first time in 2018. This test is considered the first of its kind under the current government because it was completed one academic year after its inauguration. If one year is objectively insufficient to bring about a tangible change in the results of Moroccan students in this international study, the adoption of the Ministry of National Education as an educational support tool that enabled the struggling students in less than two months to gain one to two years of their academic career, gave public opinion hope that something would be reversed, even if This has a significant impact on our results in the Pisa 2022 programme. However, despite some relative stability in mathematics results, which only declined by three points compared to 2018, the achievements of Moroccan students declined significantly in science, to the point that the decline exceeded 11 points, and they declined further in reading, which was recorded. A decline of more than 20 points. This reflects a general weakness in the academic achievement rate of Moroccan students, which ranged between 339 points in reading and 365 points in mathematics and science, i.e. a difference of more than 200 points from the first ranks, which made Morocco ranked 71st in the field of “mathematics,” four places ahead. For the year 2018, it ranked 79 in the field of “reading” and ranked 76 in the field of “science,” thus decreasing by three ranks in reading and one in science, and not nine as stated in the ministry’s statement. What is strange is that the latter did not mention the slight progress that had occurred in the mathematics ranking, and what is even stranger is that he emphasized that participation in the program was limited to Moroccan students in public schools, while the Pisa study includes a representative sample of all students, including those studying in private education. It is as if the Ministry wants to tell public opinion that our problem is in public schools, even though the study itself did not record any significant difference between public and private when social and economic factors are neutralized. Aside from the points obtained and the ranking in which Morocco ranked, what is most worrying is the number of Moroccan students who do not meet the minimum competencies, as their percentage exceeded 79 percent, distributed between 75.5 percent in science, 81.1 percent in reading, and 81.6 percent. percent in mathematics, an increase of between 6 and 8 percentage points compared to 2018.
Although the study considered Morocco, along with Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Paraguay and Romania, among the countries that over the past decade have made significant progress towards universal secondary education, which is essential to enable equal opportunities and full participation in the economy, the quality of education is still far from being achieved. This requires a deep study of the data of Pisa 2022 in order to develop an ambitious plan for educational take-off that goes beyond the narrow view of the road map that focuses on basic learning, despite its importance, to adopting a broader vision that derives its legitimacy and foundations from the framework law for education that is still awaiting activation after more than four years. Years after Parliament approved it. What are the most important lessons that should be learned in order to better participate in the next session, which will be held in 2025?
First, working to enable learners to rely more and more on themselves and acquire self-learning skills with more confidence in using digital technology. The study recorded significant differences between countries in terms of students’ confidence in their ability to self-learn by investing in digital technology on their own. At this level, only about 50% of Moroccan students feel confident or very confident in using the video calling program, while in Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Lithuania, Portugal and Sweden this percentage reaches 84%. In addition, greater preparation must be made to adopt distance education systems and qualify teachers and learners for this, in light of the belief of institution directors, not only in Morocco, but also in France, Greece, Iceland, and Morocco, that their schools are not prepared for this transformation.
Secondly, paying attention to the discipline of students according to strict rules within the institution, especially within the classroom, to overcome the current situation, which is characterized by the fact that the disciplinary climate in educational institutions is not conducive to learning, such that more than 40% of students in Morocco are unable to work well in most or all of the lessons. On the other hand, efforts should be strengthened to improve the safety of students so that they feel safe at school, especially in their classrooms. Especially since about 25% of Moroccan students feel unsafe outside the classroom, and harassment or bullying is still widespread, such that in 2022 more than 15% of students in Morocco will be exposed to bullying repeatedly. In addition, it remains necessary to address the phenomenon of student absence, especially in the long term, because despite its rare occurrence, it remains harmful to academic achievement, noting that in Morocco, 15% or more of students have been absent from class for more than three consecutive months at least once, which is a number big.
Third, bridging the gap between students with regard to benefiting from primary education, continuing the efforts made to universalize primary education, taking into account quality specifications, and working quickly to reduce the difference in the percentage of schooling in this field between the urban area and the rural area, which reached 20 points upon completion of the Pisa test. 2022.
Fourth, reconsider the widespread practice of repetition in the Moroccan educational system, as about 46% of Moroccan students participating in the test had previously repeated the school year. It is known that these learners are the most vulnerable to dropping out of school, which reached high levels last year, after more than 350,000 children left school, an increase of 16,000 over the previous year, despite the fact that reducing school wastage is among the three goals of the roadmap. The Pisa 2022 study recorded that repeat students are socially, emotionally and educationally disconnected from school life. Most of them are boys, socially and economically disadvantaged, have a migrant background, and have low achievement in mathematics, reading and science, in addition to having a weaker sense of belonging to the institution in which they study.
Fifthly, seeking to restore social integration to Moroccan schools by gradually breaking with the class classification of educational institutions between private education attended by a privileged social class and public education attended by deprived classes. The Program for the International Assessment of Learners for the year 2022 confirmed that socially and economically advantaged students are more isolated, or more concentrated, in certain schools than their disadvantaged peers, and this applies to Morocco, along with Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Panama, Thailand, Chile, Colombia, and Hong Kong.
Sixth, the urgent necessity of providing sufficient and high-quality educational and administrative staff. The study noted across 36 countries that the shortage of educational personnel is more widespread in public schools than in private schools, and it was more severe, respectively, in Greece, Uruguay, Morocco, Turkey, Colombia, New Zealand, the United Arab Emirates, and Portugal. The shortage of educational personnel is negatively related to student performance, and in contrast, schools that have qualified teachers and in sufficient numbers score higher grades.
Seventh, the lack of educational resources hinders the quality of academic achievement. Directors of educational institutions in Morocco reported that the quality of teaching is negatively affected by the inadequacy or poor quality of educational materials, to the point that two out of every three learners were concerned about this situation during the Pisa 2022 test, in addition to the fact that more than six out of every ten students study in schools. They lack basic equipment to an extent that hinders the provision of quality education. Since the digital transformation of educational institutions has become an urgent necessity, the aforementioned study focused on this aspect and confirmed that more than two out of every three Moroccan students study in institutions that cannot provide quality education due to insufficient or poor-quality digital resources. She also pointed out that school guidelines and practices exist to promote teaching and learning using digital devices in schools with social and economic privileges, namely private education institutions, more than in disadvantaged schools.
Eighth, there is no good learning without ensuring adequate, but not excessive, time for learning. Thus, educational systems in which a greater number of students spend 20 hours or less per week in school obtained lower scores in Pisa 2022, and systems in which a greater number of students spend 39 hours or more per week in school obtained lower scores. On the other hand, systems in which a greater number of students spend up to two hours a day on homework tend to obtain higher scores, while systems in which a greater number of students spend three or more hours on homework tend to score lower scores. This means that educational systems that have taken a moderate approach in determining the school time allocated for learning are the ones that obtain better results. According to available data, Moroccan students spend more time in school than others, but only theoretically, because the actual time remains much less due to absence and due to the late start and early completion of studies, which greatly reduces the annual school time.
Ninth, redistributing decision-making responsibilities towards getting closer to the educational institution. Over the past few decades, many education systems have given local authorities and schools greater responsibility, most notably in the areas of resource allocation, curriculum planning and learner assessment. School principals were also given greater authority to make educational and administrative decisions. The appointment and dismissal of teachers is usually the task of school principals, but in some school systems, such as Argentina, Spain, Brazil, France, Vietnam and Japan, these tasks were mainly the responsibility of regional or regional authorities. In other systems, such as Uruguay, Paraguay, Panama, Turkey, Costa Rica, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Greece, this responsibility rests largely with national authorities. In general, the degree of independence of educational institutions varies from one country to another, but the common denominator between distinct educational systems is the clear trend towards this independence, albeit gradually.
Tenth, all the countries in the first ranks on the Pisa 2022 scale teach science and mathematics in their official languages. Which means that our educational system remains required to review its linguistic policy in order to rationalize linguistic engineering and adapt it to the outputs of serious scientific research related to the subject of languages ​​of instruction. Note that insisting on including dialect among the questions directed to the learner in the Pisa test leads to anomalous data and misleading conclusions, the least of which is that nearly 90 percent of Moroccan students do not speak their official languages.
These are the most important lessons that can be learned from Morocco’s participation in the Pisa 2022 programme. Do you find anyone taking them into consideration?

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