MOROCCO: Contractual teachers in Morocco have continued to dominate social media with the #protect teachers in Morocco protest against poor remuneration.
Physical protests that were conducted recently witnessed brutal response by the country’s police where several protesters were arrested and assaulted.
A Moroccan protester who identified himself as Habib Benlahmar on Facebook compared the situation with slavery where the master has all the power to control the servant.
“When the master shouts at his servant you are free, so do whatever you want, but what can he do? Where does he eat and drink from, how he lives, he only has the power of his work”.
“These are the words for those who blame or attack teachers who were forced to contract, they were not free to choose to sign this contract, but this system that controls all, they have no choice otherwise” reads his post on Facebook.
The contractual system in Morocco was introduced in 2016 and new teachers have deprived of most of their occupational rights.
Therefore, the protests are making an effort to claim their rights as enshrined in the country’s constitution on freedom of expression, opinion and peaceful assembly.
Article 22 stipulates that “The physical and moral integrity of anyone may not be infringed in whatever circumstance that may be, and by any party that may be private or public”.
Moreover, Article 29 guarantees freedom of reunion of assembly and peaceful demonstration among others, but contractual teachers are barred to exercise their rights under the guise of COVID-19.
Conditions of the Contract
However, with the terms and conditions of the contract teachers are unable to sustain during this pandemic as their salary cannot afford to sustain them for the month.
The conditions do not guarantee the continuity of employment as contractual teachers can be fired without notice or being called for hearing for mistakes that they might have been made.
Currently, contractual teachers salary varies from $500- $540, but following recent protests, the salaries have been cut.
Inequality within the Sector
This has manifested slavery and inequality in the education sector to the young generation as they are unable to share the table with their counterparts who joined the field before 2016.
Additionally, there is an inequality in accessing social service benefits with those who are not on contract.
According to Education International (EI), “Eighty per cent (80%) of the teachers who work under contractual conditions are less than 30 years old, and according to representatives, they felt coerced into accepting the poor employment conditions due to a lack of alternative employment options “.
Pictures posted on social media shows young people in their 30s and below and female protesters are exposed to sexual harassment for claiming their rights.
Repression of teachers is also attested in Zimbabwe as many representatives have been arrested and charged for practising their constitutional rights.