24 January 2014

Morocco: Moroccan MPs Discuss Marginalised Youths

Rabat — Moroccan Youth and Sports Minister Mohamed Ouzzine faced questions in Parliament on Tuesday (January 21st) about marginalised and unqualified young people.

MPs stressed the need for training to adapt youths' skills to meet the requirements of the labour market. They aslo called for adequate social and cultural services.

Parliamentarians focused attention on training, particularly to counter security problems in society.

The Democratic Progress party's parliamentary group said that young people could be brought back into the mainstream, not just through education and employment, but also through the culture of dialogue.

Several MPs said youths needed to be involved in policy making, both locally and nationally.

Answering criticism from legislators, the youth minister indicated that his department was aware of the need to pay particular attention to all sectors of youth society, including those with few or no qualifications for work.

In terms of facilitating access to the labour market, he reminded his audience of the self-employment project being run with the World Bank. Over a four-year period, some 5,000 young men and women aged 15 to 29 and from deprived backgrounds will be helped to access services which will assist them in setting up a business.

The minister talked of involving all interested parties, if the campaign to improve the fortunes of young people were to be a success.

"Young people are not just the ministry's responsibility. Local authorities and elected representatives also need to be involved, working alongside it. It is down to elected representatives and the civil society to bring young people back into the mainstream, and the ministry can provide the resources needed to make that happen," Ouzzine said.

The minister added that young people were not interested in just hearing words and they need real action. "Hence the importance of solidarity between all stakeholders in society," he explained.

Many young people feel side-lined when it comes to the political debate.

"I only have a primary school certificate. For 14 years I've struggled to get a stable job and I live a hand-to-mouth existence," said Sara Cherioute, 26. "I'm hoping to benefit from a training programme so that I can achieve a worthy position in society," she said.

Ouhmed Ali, 19, struck a similar note, having abandoned his studies during his second year in college.

"For five years I've been going round in circles. I need training, but have struggled to find any," he said bitterly. "I thought that youth clubs might have been good places to provide training, guidance and information for young people like me who risk ending up involved in delinquency or extremism."

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