Magharebia (Washington DC)

4 August 2014

Morocco to Foster Digital Culture

Rabat — A new report out of Morocco calls on schools to use technology to promote culture in the classroom.

The objective is to encourage pupils to be creative and develop their individual and collective abilities, enabling them to take a critical approach to culture and create cultural output themselves, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) said.

The council on July 24th adopted a report aimed at enacting a partnership between the private and public sectors to improve training and education as they pertain to new technologies, MAP reported.

It noted that there was an obvious interaction between schools, technology and culture and that it was difficult to imagine an education system without a cultural basis or to fully consider the slow speed of cultural change compared with the incredibly rapid development of new technologies.

It is for this reason that the council has decided to pay "particular attention to the cultural roles that education and schools can play in a context of continual change generated by new technologies as tools for learning and the acquisition of knowledge, and as new types of mediation to produce cultural processes and practices".

Among CESE's recommendations was the need to suggest ways in which young learners can derive maximum benefit from the environment into which they are born, where all the knowledge of the world is available at the click of a mouse.

"What should we teach them to make sure they do not get lost in cyberspace and do not lose their culture and their intellectual heritage? How can we harness the wonderful potential of these tools to help them to learn better and enter a globalized world without losing their identity?" the report asked.

Fatima Tajini, a sociologist, said that promoting culture in schools was very important and likely to have a positive effect on society.

According to Tajini, children should be taught how to use ICT properly from an early age so that they do not go too far and are not indoctrinated by extremists or outsiders.

"The exploitation of the internet by extremists requires governments to think about how they can immunise young people and children against radical and backward thinking," she told Magharebia.

Many young people highlighted the need to pay particular attention to culture and new technologies in schools. Hamza Zainoubi, a 19-year-old student, said that children and young people were left to their own devices when it came to the massive amount of information online.

"If we introduce a well thought out ICT curriculum in schools, this will be as beneficial for society as it will be for pupils," he said.

This view was shared by Hala Chikhi, a 20-year-old legal science graduate.

The education system in Morocco, and public schools in particular, pays little attention to promoting culture through new technologies even though this is an extremely important issue and could arouse children's curiosity, she explained.

"As the Economic, Social and Environmental Council highlighted so well in its report, we need to promote a clear strategy to foster digital culture in Morocco and develop subject-specific websites that offer young people textual and audio-visual content that supplements the knowledge they gain in school and at university," she said.

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