6.10 Morocco

Since the 1990’s, the Moroccan government has realized the key role played by ICTs in enhancing education and enabling a Digital Society. Article 10 of the National Charter of Education and Training of 1999 introduced the concept of the integration of ICTs into education by supporting the acquisition of computing facilities at schools, along with the promotion of distance education and learning. 240

The first "e-Morocco" (“e-Maroc” in French) strategy was launched in 2001, enabling the government to increase the use of ICTs in all aspects of life. The subsequent liberalization and privatization policy in the telecommunications sector led to reduced telecommunications costs, resulting in a rising number of cyber cafés and more access to computers and the Internet, even in small towns. In 2005, the focus of the new ‘e-Morocco 2010’ strategy included reducing digital costs and positioning the kingdom internationally in the ICT arena. Since then, several programmes and initiatives have been implemented. 241

Following the initial e-Maroc plan, the education axis of the E-Morocco 2010 Strategy, adopted in 2005, aimed to acquire and develop expertise in ICTs. This strategic priority resulted in the launch of the ‘GENIE” Programme (an acronym of “Generalization of Information Technologies and Communication in Education”), which was supported by USAID with a total budget of approximately USD 11 million.

The aim of the GENIE programme was to enhance the availability of computer labs with Internet connectivity in public schools. The project was built around three complementary axes: (1) acquiring ICT equipment, (2) training of teachers and school administrators, and (3) curriculum development. 242 The prime objective of GENIE was to enable primary, secondary and high schools to benefit from multimedia computer facilities and Internet access, with the aim of improving the quality of teaching.243

Along the first axis (equipment), more than 8,600 primary and high schools were scheduled to receive more than 100,000 Internet-enabled computers, plus additional peripheral equipment such as printers and scanners. The teacher training axis included offering basic ICT training to 230,000 educators in the 16 regional computer labs set up for this purpose across Morocco. The curriculum development axis included installing a national laboratory for the development of educational content and setting up a national educational portal. The portal aimed to offer several services such as educational resources, discussion forums, email addresses for all teachers, a virtual library, and educational search engines.244

Initially scheduled to conclude in 2009, the GENIE programme was extended for a further four years under Digital Morocco 2013. An additional 9,260 institutions were scheduled to receive multimedia resources and Internet-enabled computers, while 200,000 teachers will benefit from ICT training, and digital content will be further developed. In addition to GENIE, Digital Morocco 2013 also includes provisions to subsidize computer equipment, laptops and Internet access for teaching staff and engineering students.245

GENIE has been integrated into national strategies, becoming one of the pillars of "Numeric Morocco 2013," an initiative that aims to make ICTs a vector of human development and a source of productivity and added value for the economy and public administration. Ultimately, the kingdom wants to position Morocco as a regional technology hub. 246

In 2012, the implementation of the Plan Numeric Morocco 2013 enabled the connection of 150,000 teachers and 90,000 students to the Internet. Initially endowed with a budget of 5.2 billion dirhams, the programme has four strategic priorities: (1) social transformation through information technology (IT); (2) orientating public services towards users; (3) computerizing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and (4) developing the national IT industry. Under the Plan, a project known as Injaz was defined as a way for students to acquire a computer and a USB 3G dongle at a subsidized price 247

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