Norman Davies’ Perception of the ‘New Man’ and the Emergence of the Public Sphere among Moroccan Teacher Trainees

Abdelqoudous Benezha is teacher trainee at CRMEF Tangier. He obtained a BA degree from Ibn Tofail university in kenitra. 

Tangier, Morocco

Building upon Norman Davies’ proclamation that “the humanists knew that to create a New Man one had to start from school-boys and students,” modern societies have starved to formulate a new vision of their educational systems so that they could fulfill Davies’s vision of the ‘New Man’. Actually, there are two kinds of people, fakers and makers. Fakers who think 10 years ahead raise plants, whereas makersteacherswho think 100 years ahead raise children. In its modern context, education can be regarded as a key to human experience with which one can explore the legacy left by intellectuals from all over the globe in order to come up with knowledge that can be both helpful and generous on its part. Yet, does the Moroccan educational system really see things through the lenses of Davies?

In order to shed light on the Moroccan educational system, one should first make reference to the hierarchy in its Ministry of Education. The Ministry itself is under the control of its Minister Rachid Belmoukhtar who wants to apply a Western vision to the Moroccan context, announcing an astonishing static that almost 80 percent of Moroccan students do not understand what is said in the classroom because of the prevailing issue of overcrowded classrooms and the lack of a sufficient teaching staff. This way, Belmoukhtar is aiming at implementing a vision whose success feeds upon the need to provide more teaching staff and to give an end to the issue of overcrowded classrooms. A paradoxical approach to overcoming these challenges, isn’t it?

This omnipresent desire of our Minister of Education to crash the Moroccan educational system gave birth to two curses that have sealed teacher trainees’ spirit of work from being unleashed and fully put under test. These curses are embodied in two mortal decrees N: 588-15-2 and N: 589-15-2. The former aims at circumcising teacher trainees’ scholarship aid by half, whereas the latter aims at separating training from recruitment and that, after a year-long training program, 10,000 teacher trainees will have to sit for a recruitment test. As a reaction to those mortal decrees, teacher trainees have resorted to the politics of boycotting both the theoretical and practical aspects of their training by aiming at shucking those two decrees against the wall of heresy, wondering whether they are the homage paid by ignorance to learning.

Elaborating on this unbreakable resolve of teacher trainees to put an end to the two decrees, Hamlet’s statement “What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty!” can be regarded as an explanation to the fact that “knowledge is power,” to use Michel Foucault’s words, and that teacher trainees are committed to go to the public sphere in order to make their demands heard. It is important to note that the revival of this common culture of protesting in the public sphere among teacher trainees is due to their awareness about the danger that threatens our already paralyzed educational system, not only because it targets their rights to recruitment, but also for the sake of keeping it from being privatized. Simply put, the second decree aims at giving birth to a new kind of diplomas whose nature is meant to bridge the gap between our Ministry of Education’s interests and the private sector’s will to such a trade of polarizing well-trained teaching staff at the lowest expenses.

In a nutshell, the fact that teacher trainees are committed to oppose these two twists of our Ministry of Education is generated by their desire to use the public sphere as “a mediating layer between government and citizens,” to use Habermas’s words, and fueled with a need to form a public opinion whose consensus is centered around this pressing issue of the two decrees and their negative impact on the Moroccan educational system. Hence, the rationale behind teacher trainees’ resolve to put an end to the two mortal decrees is twofold: to regain their right to recruitment and to revive the already stagnant Moroccan educational system.

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