Why should the minister be concerned?
When Morocco’s minister of higher education decides to address the shortcomings of higher education, does he really understand the magnitude of the task when he announces his desire to create “higher education commissions” to define new criteria for higher education recruitment? teachers to apparently combat the “scourge of clientelism, nepotism and corruption” rampant in certain departments?
If we were to stick to the course of the PhD students in Morocco, there would be so much to say that theses would not be enough, that the students’ ailments are far removed from the well-known stress and burnout associated with scientific research. has been the object of academic research in many countries. Scientific research, well let’s talk about it.
A few weeks ago, Abdellatif Miraoui spoke extensively on this subject before the deputies of the Chamber of Councillors. Advocating for a “national plan for the transformation and management of the scientific research system”, the minister announced the upcoming reform of the National Council for Scientific Research. “for greater efficiency, researchers should note the adoption of new standards aimed at encouraging teachers and laboratories to conduct scientific research, resulting in the efficient organization of the entire system” .
He also explained this “Students could keep their modules and do their training, take the modules, go to work and return to university, which would allow them to continue their training and support changes in different professions.” !
How does the manager intend to retain doctoral students, most of whom leave the course before the presentation of their dissertation? Indeed, according to figures from the Higher Education Council, which evaluates the doctoral period, 9 out of 10 doctoral students do not go all the way and give up before submitting their dissertation. More precisely, only 10% of these students do not have researcher status, by the way.
Compared to other countries, the ratio of the number of defended doctoral dissertations to the number of doctoral students is very low (5.7% in 2017). However, if we compare with France, which is not a leader in this field, we will see that four out of ten doctoral students receive a doctorate degree.
Of course, the uncertain conditions that lead them to leave their dissertations to find work to help their families, because generally these students are from poor families, but there are also educational conditions that leave something to be desired, especially the supervisors, who have nothing to support the student when most of them are not their own. a major impediment to the advancement of PhD students who do not make an effort, usually without a significant scholarship, and are thus forced to fight alone for access to research. As for equipment and other research laboratories, we must not forget.
If we add to this a section of unscrupulous teachers who do everything to disgust research students, who are often ridiculed, the circle is complete. Let’s talk numbers to support these ideas: indeed, the latest report on scientific and technological research in Morocco by the National Evaluation Institute (INE), under the High Council for Education, in its analysis of the doctoral cycle, notes that during the period 2004-2013, dropouts rate is 32.7%. If we limit ourselves to the analysis period of 2004-2010, it increases to 41.4%. While the number of students continues to grow, doctoral studies attract fewer and fewer candidates for objective reasons, including the lack of significant scholarships.
In order not to burden the teacher with all the trouble, it is also necessary to point the finger at the hell of bureaucracy, which means that the complexity and slowness of the procedures still disgusts the few serious teacher-researchers who will deal with it. research activities that should bring income to their universities. Often these teacher-researchers, project managers also abandon their projects, because the project is often obsolete when the first payment is made, which happens too late.
In short, we can at least say that nothing is going wrong in higher education, however, it remains the foundation of the country’s development. Stressed or unmotivated students, disastrous research rates, a declining sector, a loss of meaning and values…
However, for years we have heard only negative reforms from the private sector, including the famous “no or die” reform, while higher education has benefited from using modern resource management methods. proved itself in private companies. Starting with means of forcing teachers into this notion of productivity and competitiveness that dominates the private sector. (Incidentally, a large number of these teachers earn money in other profitable activities, despite the prohibition of numerous functions prevailing in the civil service).
But for this obligation of results to be effective, this commercial corporation in which the teacher is the only civil servant reporting to no one but the state itself must be ended! But the real subject is the student, not the teacher, and therefore the first priority, the most vital, is the motivation of our students, especially those who come from the social ladder. They are the ones who experience the problems of higher education every day before others, suffer from them and often have already taken all the steps without success, as evidenced by the scandals of “grades against sex” and this is what remains hidden. worse.
However, it is enough to establish active listening processes to see how much these PhD students, who give up the dream of obtaining the famous diploma after several years of testing, suffer until they drop out.