Status of teacher-researchers: Towards the end of the clash between Miraoui and the unions?

Rehabilitating the Moroccan University is an objective shared by the government and the higher education unions. But the method for achieving this ideal opposes the latter, who have not yet reached a definitive agreement on the thorny issue of reforming the special status of the body of teacher-researchers in higher education, to the minister in charge, Abdellatif Miraoui. This is the pillar of the reform promised by the Minister and which will be finalized in 2023. Overhauling the legal framework governing teacher-researchers is so complex that the Special Statute has remained frozen since 1997. Date of its implementation.

Waiting for a tense reunion!

Sources familiar with the matter have told us that the minister and the unions have made an appointment this week to organize a meeting. This will be decisive because it will deal with the main points of divergence about the fate of teachers. Remember that the unions have been demanding reform for years, says Jamal Sebbani, Secretary General of the National Union of Higher Education. The talks led to an agreement in principle on the project led by former minister Saïd Amzazi, but the arrival of the new government and the desire of the new minister to bring his personal touch delayed its exit.

Abdellatif Miraoui, let us remember, wants the function of teachers to be framed in accordance with the spirit of the new development model. This is why he pleads for “new generation teacher-researchers”. The latter should in principle be reclassified according to two new categories, namely “Lecturer” and “Professor of higher education”. The current statute, it should be remembered, provides for three, namely “higher education professor”, “qualified professor”, and “assistant professor”. These new classifications are, however, provisional and not final.

The age limit, the big disagreement

Informed ministerial sources told us that the new statute will contain several changes from the previous one. By taking note of the grievances of the unions, we realize that the first bone of contention concerns the accessibility of the profession, knowing that the age limit is set at 45 years. A limit that does not suit the unions who see it as an obstacle to attracting Moroccan skills abroad who wish to return to the motherland. Indeed, article 7 of the current statute stipulates that access to the function “is open to candidates aged 40 at most on 1 January of the current year”. “This last age limit may be extended for a period equal to that of the valid or validatable services for retirement without it being possible to postpone it beyond 45 years”, we read on the text of the law, which however, provides for an exemption for civil servants. The age limit is not enforceable against candidate civil servants in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 2-92-231 of April 29, 1993.

Moreover, the question of openness to foreign profiles is not on the table. There is another concern related to accessibility, the failure to take into account the experience prior to taking office. The age limit, as provided for by law, makes it possible to recruit young profiles but makes it difficult, if not impossible, according to Mr. Sebbani, to take advantage of experienced profiles who want to work with the State as teachers- researchers. Still on the issue of human resources, the unions are asking for an increase in the budget items assigned to the sector, to offset the risk of shortages threatening our country. (see marks). The reform promises to give birth to a more attractive system for teachers.

During the many speeches on this subject, Abdellatif Miraoui did not hide his desire to grant teachers new incentives. The unions, for their part, insist on the career prospects they wish to see improved, pinning their hopes on an ingenious formula from the ministry. Teachers, at least the unionized ones, complain about what they call “bleak prospects”, arguing that the ceiling of evolution is quickly reached.

In addition to career prospects, teachers are demanding a salary increase. Today, a teacher at the start of the course receives a salary of 13,000 DH, which can increase to 26,000 dirhams with seniority and progression in rank.

Meritocracy: The bargaining chip

The supervising minister seems open to the increase in wages, but in return, he wants more performance. Abdellatif Miraoui is determined to put new performance criteria in return for salary incentives. It is for this reason that he speaks of new generation teachers who are open to “Soft and Power Skills” and who master foreign languages ​​and digital tools. In addition to this, the scientific stay abroad is also required.

Ultimately, the reform claims meritocracy, which is why scientific production should also be included among the criteria for development, given the derisory figures of scientific publications. We are only at 0.37 publications per teacher-researcher per year.

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Status of teacher-researchers: Towards the end of the clash between Miraoui and the unions?

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