More than 18 years after the integration of Tamazight, the language of the Amazigh people, into Morocco’s education system, teaching the language at schools and universities still faces great challenges. The most important of those is the lack of programs and courses available in Tamazight, which is the standardized version of the many Amazigh dialects.
An initial enthusiasm for Amazigh studies programs in universities has waned in recent years, in part because of poor prospects for graduates. But now academics and activists are leading a new push to teach Tamazight, and the education minister has indicated his support.
“Amazigh studies started recently compared to other disciplines,” said Lahcen Amekrane, a professor at the Amazigh studies department at Hassan II University of Casablanca. “However, the experience is more than 14 years old today and it is necessary to think about enabling Moroccan students to study this major at new universities.”
Amekrane also stressed the importance of “expanding the university offer of Amazigh studies to include other higher education institutions that have not yet opened Amazigh courses.” (See a related article, “The Berber Language: Officially Recognized, Unofficially Marginalized?”)