Rabat – Heated disagreements accompanied the new school-year start as Arabic dialect terms appeared in the official 2nd grade textbooks, reigniting controversy over the ailing education system.The Moroccan education system has been relentlessly striving for reform and empowerment since the closing decades of the last century. Today, the intellectual and the layman all know the troubles of the public school and the corruption crippling the colossal system of education and training.The organization of schools and vocational institutes, colleges, universities, and training bodies with both private and public ownerships under the control and supervision of delegations, academies, and councils is very complicated. They belong to either joint or independent ministries, making the education sector a complex fabric to figure out. Added to this is the constant change of high-ranking education officials, which automatically yields inconsistent and incongruent policies of education. The gloomy picture gets darker as corruption finds safe shelter and spreads like a contagious plague in an already critical state of affairs.The imperfections of Moroccan public education are many and varied. Yet, the question of language remains unaddressed seriously and unsettled over the reform attempts and the occasional policies. Language variation, supposedly an asset to any nation and source of pride and diversity, has become a blight on the path to re-innovating the system.Interestingly, however, after the serious argument over whether Arabic or French should take over as a means of instruction, another controversy surfaced due to the boom of the English language worldwide. Some contended that English is undeniably the best medium of instruction and must be the first foreign language of any country.Moroccan debate over the past years has rested on whether French or English should be the channel of instruction in public schools and universities of the nation, as is the case in many private institutes. In this tense rivalry between powerful languages, a notorious voice appeared advocating for the integration of Darija (Moroccan Arabic), an unwritten dialect, in education.While most Moroccans overlooked the idea with sarcasm and underestimation in its early beginnings, the newly updated curricula for 2018 first primary school years have included Darija words with illustrative pictures in the midst of Arabic lessons. The words were written and pronounced as if they are common Arabic terms. The pictures and words of food items from Moroccan cuisine caused, first, surprise, before it grew, like a snow ball, into public outcry and indignation on social media.The “virtual” discontent was further provoked by more fabricated pictures and texts alluding to social degeneration and disrespect of Morocco’s cultural identity. One example included a girl taking off her pants to urinate in the open air; another had a boy and a girl initiate a relationship. The fake images and texts were later identified.Some social media users not only blamed the public for blind consumption and baseless accusations of the Ministry of Education, but also supported the insertion of such words in textbooks, claiming that Arabic is not a sacred language. Despite the linguistic diversity in Morocco, in education at least, Darija has never been mentioned to be used or empowered in all the preceding official reform plans.Neither the National Charter for Education and Training nor the Emergency Plan nor, lately, the Strategic Vision 2015-2030 have endorsed any promotion of Darija, while all the main languages have been maintained with differing degrees and variable importance. Over the last years, the only tense debate following the monarch’s 2014 discourse on language-in-education review took place in the Higher Council for Education Training and Scientific Research (HCETSR) on whether French or English should be the first foreign language and medium of instruction in secondary and tertiary education’s scientific and technical streams.While some saw a probable radical shift to English, French has been announced to continue to be the medium of teaching in the advanced schooling phases. While many voices and bodies denounced the gradually eclipsing role of standard Arabic in schools, Darija was not even deemed worthy of discussion.Yet, subtle efforts for the promotion of dialects in educational use started decades ago in the era of foreign occupation, not only in Morocco, but in many comparable Arab and Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Tunisia, and Syria.It was primarily meant to undermine the Arabic language: the indispensable tool of Muslims’ religious practice as well as a symbol of historical and cultural unity and identity among Arabs and Muslims.Recently, the wave in Morocco advocating for Darija has been revived and is being fueled by notorious activist and businessman Noureddine Ayouch. He is a member in the HCETSR, a priceless opportunity for him to influence educational decisions of momentous eventual impact on education. Yet, claims that Ayouch is behind the insertion of dialect terms in the new curricula remain only plausible allegations.For academics and intellectuals, such as El Ouadghiri and El Aroui, the issue is unquestionable and Darija is not liable to fulfill education or scholastic roles, not only due to its nature, but also because the other languages, especially Arabic, being the prime tool of instruction in primary school, are far more adequate and useful. Irrespective of the issue in question, the hustle and bustle which took place on social media reveals insightful indicators on the fabric and the mode of thinking of the Moroccan society. Lack of respect for opposing views, lack of critical thinking, and poor media savvy have imbued Facebook interaction in the opening weeks of September 2018.Mutual accusations among members of society, circulation of fake posts without ascertaining credibility, and imprudence to react were common traits among numberless Facebook users. This status quo prevented readers from finding objective and rational analyses and caused considerable doubt.The controversy, again, brought to debate the duality of public and private schooling in Morocco.Most of the discussion implied an endorsement of private schooling as a redemption for the masses, without regard to the degrading purchasing power of Moroccan households and the escalating private school fees. Quality teaching in private schools is not only becoming more and more unquestioned, but also unthinkably approved and recommended by the educated as well as the layman.Today’s poor public education, coupled with greedy private schools and thoughtless households sacrificing their basic needs for their children’s private schooling, renders the image dramatic and does not give any signs of an auspicious future. Citizens are becoming defenseless victims of inadequate education modes as well as their shallow thinking and irrational decisions. All the noise Darija caused is only a small aspect of education. Real education should overcome the imperfections of available offers to provide in-home education and parental scaffolding that seeks to make children into intellectuals, decision-makers, leaders, and, mainly, thinkers. These skills cannot necessarily be built by any school irrespective of reputation or service, but only require educated wise parents who look farther than a few “strange” words in their child’s school book.
“Gross negligence manslaughter carries a punishment of prison time, and I hope that the police and the CPS are considering charges of manslaughter caused by gross negligence.”Yvette Williams, a co-ordinator at the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group, said the development would help restore trust between the police and the west London community. His comments are likely to fuel mounting frustration among survivors, who have already stated that their scepticism in Sir Martin’s ability to “do us justice”. Commenting on the investigation, a Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: “This is a complex and far reaching investigation that by its very nature will take a considerable time to complete.”The Met has made a commitment to the families who lost loved ones in the fire and survivors that they will be kept updated, as far as we possibly can, as the investigation continues.” Mr Lammy, who knew one of the victims of the blaze, said: “I am pleased that justice for Grenfell victims and families is being taken seriously by the Metropolitan Police and the CPS.”But the punishment for corporate manslaughter is a fine. A fine would not represent justice for the Grenfell victims and their families. Suspicion in the authorities has brewed following the fire, with many residents wary about the speed of their investigation.Ms Williams said: “I do think now police have made that statement that trust in the investigation process will grow.”We welcome that there is enough information and evidence to go down the corporate prosecution route for the TMO and RBKC. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Meanwhile, Grenfell survivors have called on the chair of the public inquiry, which is running alongside Scotland Yard’s criminal investigation, to bring charges against officials implicated in the disaster.However, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, chair of the inquiry, told a meeting gathered at Notting Hill Methodist Church on Wednesday that he had “no power” to bring about prosecutions in relation to the issue of criminal responsibility. And on Wednesday it was revealed that the council had been warned by the Fire Brigades Union in 2010 that building the Kensington Aldridge Academy – a secondary school at the base of Grenfell Tower – would create “huge difficulties” in the event of a fire.Commenting on the logistical difficulties faced by firefighters during the rescue operation, Lucy Masoud, a senior FBU official, said that changes to the area, “including the academy” should be included in the public inquiry. Welcoming the news, Samia Badani, a resident association chair of neighbouring tower block Bramley House said that it would reassure the community amid fears that their concerns were being ignored.New Kensington Council leader Elizabeth Campbell reacts to corporate manslaughter suspicions There are “reasonable grounds” to suspect that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and its Tenant Management Organisation committed corporate manslaughter, Scotland Yard announced yesterday.In a letter circulated to survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire, the Force confirmed that officers had notified the council that they may be charged for their role in the blaze which left at least 80 people dead.The Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group said it hoped the statement was a “precursor” to individual arrests, adding: “Any arrests made will be seen by all those affected as tangible evidence that they are valued members of society and are being listened to.”Police do not have the power to arrest individuals under the offence of corporate manslaughter, but someone can face gross negligence manslaughter charges if a death may have been caused by an act or omission on their part.As part of the investigation, which has drafted in experts from the 9/11 terror attack and more than 200 Metropolitan Police officers, senior executives from both organisations will be formally interviewed.The update, which was sent to survivors yesterday afternoon, stated: “We have seized a huge amount of material and taken a large number of witness statements. “I’m very pleased, I think over the years we have had a very good relationship with local police and the relationship with the council is the opposite,” she said.”We are so bruised in the community that we needed some reassurances so it’s a step forward.”It comes more than a month after David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, accused the council of the offence, with senior executives in both RBKC and TMO resigning in the days that followed over accusations that they ignored a catalogue of warnings over fire safety. Letter circulated to Grenfell survivors on Thursday “After an initial assessment of that information, the officer leading the investigation has today notified Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that each organisation may have committed the offence of corporate manslaughter under the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007.” “However, what we would like to see running alongside that is individuals being prosecuted.”We want is individuals named and prosecuted – you can have both, but we don’t want corporate manslaughter on its own.”People implement policy, people make decisions, people took particular actions and those people are responsible.”You can’t put corporate organisations in the dock, you put individuals.”