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Morocco Week in Review 
April 11, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

U.S. President J.F. Kennedy Welcomes King Hassan II in 60s. Video

This week 57 years ago (1963), U.S. President John F. Kennedy welcomed His Majesty King Hassan II on his first trip to the United States. Morocco was the first country to recognize the U.S. As we all stay at home and fight the COVID-19 virus together, we felt this video is a great example of how our partnership and relationship has been and will continue to be rock solid.
https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10158508883544551&id=93250564550
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USAID Distance Education Activities Prepare Morocco’s Ministry of Education for Virtual Learning During Coronavirus Disruptions

6 Apr 2020

USAID investments in education programming prepares countries to adopt flexible and resilient learning systems. Coronavirus is shutting down schools and affecting learning opportunities for over 1.5 billion children and youth around the globe. The global pandemic has stunned education systems worldwide: How do we ensure the continuity of our children’s academic education? Is virtual learning the solution?

In Morocco, a Ministry of Education cadre of experts that benefited from previous USAID-funded distance learning activities responded, “Yes!” While Morocco’s school buildings are closed, one million students have already accessed the Ministry’s online learning platform and lessons broadcast nationally on TV, opening the door to continued learning for millions more of Moroccan youth.

The USAID-funded projects Advancing Learning and Employability for a Better Future (ALEF), 2004-2009, and Improving Training for Quality Advancement in National Education (ITQANE), 2009-2014, trained national education experts on innovative, quality learning tools. These professionals were later prepared to respond to the country's urgent call to embark on a large-scale production of online courses once the coronavirus disrupted Morocco's education system. Both projects collaborated with the National Center for Pedagogic Innovation and Experimentation (CNIPE) at the Ministry of National Education (MOE) to design digital learning courses, create an online learning platform Collab.ma, and adapt the national curriculum content to multimedia education.

Mr. Abdellatif Fergoug, the e-learning project manager exclaimed, “The MOE CNIPE center has taken full ownership of this platform and has committed to ensuring its continued operation and growth. It still continues to operate with an ever-expanding offering of online products. I have witnessed so many international cooperative activities. None was as fully sustainable and nationally implemented upon the activity’s completion as these USAID-funded projects!”

The expertise that the ministry acquired in the field of distance education has prepared them to work around the clock and quickly produce content that is being broadcast through the national education portal: http://tice.men.gov.ma/ and the national TV channel 4.
https://www.usaid.gov/morocco/program-updates/apr-2020-usaid-distance-education-activities-ministry-education-coronavirus-disruptions

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Jonathan Fenton-Harvey reports on how the popular tourist destination is providing hospitality and support to stranded travellers as well as its own citizens.

In a heart-warming display of solidarity, large numbers of Moroccans gather on their rooftops to recite the Qu’ran and pray; a sense of oneness in society amid Morocco’s lockdown to combat the spread of the Coronavirus. 

Fri 3 April 2020

While there is an abundant focus on the inevitable healthcare and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Morocco’s widespread solidarity – which breaches all societal divisions – is a shining example of how those in society can help one another in such a period of crisis. A profound sense of hospitality and productive patriotism within Morocco has driven people from all backgrounds to come together to combat this virus and care for those who will be impacted. 

Amid scenes of panic-buying and the hoarding of goods in supermarkets and lax compliance with social distancing advice in Western countries, Morocco has shown the strength of decisive action and consideration for one another, to minimise the virus’ spread and damage, especially towards society’s most vulnerable.  

On 2 March, Morocco detected its first case of COVID-19. Dozens more cases were then discovered among visitors visiting the popular tourist destination. The Government acted decisively yet progressively to limit the spread, shutting down all airports, flights and passenger ships to and from the country until further notice, whilst aiming to ease the societal impact of the lockdown.“Morocco was the first regional country to shut its borders, seeking to contain the possibility of it infecting more people,” Hajar Bennar, Research Associate at Rennes 2 University, told Byline Times. “In my opinion, and I think the overwhelming majority of Moroccans feel this way, the success of such steps is thanks to the King who preferred to help his people rather than economy.”
https://bylinetimes.com/2020/03/31/the-coronavirus-crisis-moroccos-cohesion-and-solidarity-is-a-lesson-to-us-all/ =================================

How the Coronavirus Crisis is Positively Shaping Moroccan Society

The novel coronavirus has stripped Morocco of its vibrancy and dynamic energy, replacing its eclectic magic with uncertainty and fear. Rising from the deserted streets, however, is a new kind of unanimity that is taking place within communities across Morocco.

By Seleena Johal - Mar 29, 2020 Marrakech

Two weeks ago, the streets of Marrakech bustled with locals and tourists alike. Horns blared, lights twinkled, voices competed with each other to be heard above the din. The sunshine made everything sparkle infinitely. The atmosphere vibrated with movement on every corner. Marrakech was getting ready for spring. Step out into the streets now and you will find them empty, a heavy silence echoing up from the pavements. Lone taxis can be seen desperately looking for customers, and a few wide-eyed foreigners walk hurriedly, keeping their distance from everyone else. 
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/03/297936/how-the-coronavirus-crisis-is-positively-shaping-moroccan-society/=================================

INSAF Association Delivers Food to 150 Needy Families in Rural Morocco

The initiative aims to mitigate restrictions on mobility and preserve the health of rural Moroccans.

By Morgan Hekking  - Apr 2, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s INSAF Association has initiated a solidarity campaign in Chichaoua, a town approximately 90 kilometers west of Marrakech, to distribute food to 150 needy families in nearby rural villages. The association collaborated with local authorities to assist families in the villages of Imintanout, Idouirane, and Timzgadiouine who have been hard hit by the COVID-19 outbreak and its socioeconomic repercussions.  The architect of the solidarity campaign, Omar Saadoun, told Maghreb Arab Press that the INSAF Association was inspired by the dozens of humanitarian initiatives that have emerged as Moroccans adjust to life under the state of health emergency.
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298437/insaf-association-delivers-food-to-150-needy-families-in-rural-morocco/
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Morocco’s Development Commission to Consult High School Students

The education ministry and the CSMD will select 12 student dissertations to enrich the vision for national development.

By Morgan Hekking - Apr 2, 2020 Rabat – The Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) and the Ministry of Education are offering Moroccan high school students a platform to propose their ideas for the future of the country. The consultation program, called “Morocco of tomorrow,” is in accordance with King Mohammed VI’s vision for national development, which considers young people as “the real wealth of the country.”  Article 33 of the Moroccan Constitution underscores the necessity of the participation of young Moroccans in public life, the Ministry of Education said in a press release. Participation is open to public and private high school students beginning today, April 2. 
Student participants are invited to write a dissertation, in Arabic, Tamazight (Berber language) or a foreign language, describing his or her vision of the “Morocco of tomorrow.” Interested students are invited to visit ofok.men.gov.ma, download the technical data sheet for the program, complete the participation form, and submit their dissertations before April 12. The regional commissions of the Ministry of Education will select the 10 best dissertations from each region for a total of 120 essays.
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298423/moroccos-development-commission-to-consult-high-school-students/=================================

600,000 Students Access Morocco’s Remote Education Website Each Day

When Morocco suspended school on March 16, the Ministry of Education launched websites to host remote classes for all students.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Apr 2, 2020 Rabat

The Ministry of Education announced on April 2 that its “Telmid Tice” website, hosting remote classes during the country’s school suspension, has reached 600,000 users per day since its launch on March 16. Morocco suspended in-person classes on March 16 to contain the spread of COVID-19. The ministry said that the total number of educational videos produced during this period has reached 3,00The ministry said it launched its remote education program through videotaped classes on its “Al Thaqafia” (culture) television channel. Television channel Tamazight started broadcasting classes for primary and secondary school students on March 23, and the Al Ayoun channel began airing lessons on March 24.  The Arryadia channel started airing educational broadcasts, specifically for university students, on March 25.

The ministry said that Moroccan national television channels are now broadcasting up to 56 courses everyday. Broadcasters have shared a total of 730 lessons since the remote education program began. The statement recalled the launch of the “Teams” service, which enables professors to communicate directly with their students, as well as to organize distance learning courses through virtual classes. The ministry’s review press release said the number of virtual classes that were created up to Wednesday, April 1st, reached 400,000 for public educational institutions. The number of virtual classes for the private sector reached 30,000. The total number of active users to engage with the classes reached 100,000 in the period since April 1. The numbers are increasing on a daily basis, the ministry said.
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298416/600000-students-access-moroccos-remote-education-website-each-day/
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Youth in Central Morocco Make Protective Masks for Local Hospital Staff

The seven-person team assembled 280 protective masks in just two days.

By Rachid Elouahsoussi - Apr 5, 2020 Marrakech

Civil society youth in Azilal, a city in the Beni Mellal-Khenifra region in central Morocco, engaged in the national efforts against COVID-19 by assembling 280 protective masks for the local hospital.  A product fabricator at Fablab Casablanca, Mohammed Rahmo, collaborated with the founder and president of Azilal Young Development Leaders, Khalid Ibn Elbachyr, to launch the initiative. The duo took to social media to invite passionate individuals to contribute to the project.  In just two days, Rahmo, Ibn Elbachyr, and five others assembled the protective masks for the hospital in Azilal, surpassing their initial goal of 200 masks. 
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298708/youth-in-central-morocco-make-protective-masks-for-local-hospital-staff/=================================

Stillness Amid the Chaos: The Beauty of Life Under Lockdown in Morocco

Being under lockdown in Morocco has been a time of rebirth for me, a time to slow down, to breathe. To reconnect with nature, food, family, and the simplicity of life.

By Emma Flodin - Apr 4, 2020

We are living in uncertain times. The new decade has begun full of unrest and shock as the global COVID-19 pandemic is sweeping the globe. 
In this situation, many people in the world are placed under quarantine, some not even in their own countries, because of government restrictions limiting international travel or prohibiting it completely.  This global lockdown is changing the daily routines of many, but I am here to share a story of discovery and cultural exploration in this uncertain and wary time.  I am Swedish-American, currently in Morocco, and I lived in Los Angeles this past year. While there, money and power were driving the city, and with a fast-paced life, I found no time to slow down and just breathe.  My husband and I flew to Morocco at the beginning of March 2020. Upon landing in the country, I was greeted with smiles and kindness from strangers that I did not know. I saw genuine love in people’s eyes when speaking to them. No matter who they were or how much they had, they offered to locals and tourists, I saw and felt their genuine gratitude and love for their country and people. Their willingness to give, even if they did not have much themselves.
https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298540/stillness-amid-the-chaos-the-beauty-of-life-under-lockdown-in-morocco/
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The Entrancing Stories of Qawwali, unveiled like never before                    

Twenty years of filmmaking, culminating in the ultimate Qawwali documentary series. Three hours of carefully curated, never before published material. All made possible by viewers like you, and offered exclusively here through Samā School of Music!

Sufism & Spirituality: Discover the mystical tradition behind the art of the music that stirs the soul.
https://www.samaschoolofmusic.com/music-of-the-mystics
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COVID-19: Morocco’s National Library Offers Free e-Books

The institution also launched an initiative to offer free audiobook downloads.
By Taha Mebtoul - Apr 7, 2020 Rabat

The National Library of Morocco in Rabat (BNRM) has decided to provide its subscribers with free access to all of its e-books. The initiative aims to diversify reading opportunities in light of the country’s state of emergency, which prohibits citizens from leaving their homes. BNRM’s initiative will allow subscribers to thousands of high quality books, magazines, and other digitized content. The materials are available for students, researchers, or anyone who desires to fill their lockdown time with reading. The library offers suggested book lists, which cover many fields of study. All titles will remain freely accessible during the duration of the state of health emergency. Interested readers can access each book service through the library’s official website, or as follows:

EBSCO package Link: http://bnm.bnrm.ma:86/ The page can also be accessed by clicking on EBSCO in the tab “Periodiques electroniques.”
CAIRN package Link: https://aide.cairn.info/article/211-comment-acceder-a-distance-a-cairn-info-methode-simplifie
DALLOZ package Link: www.dalloz.fr Username: DALma4944b Password: 501640
LEXIS NEXIS package: To benefit from the Lexis Maroc access code, readers should send an email to info@lexismaroc.ma, with the subject line “BNRM & LEXIS MAROC.” Interested parties should specify their first and last name in the body of the message.
HARMATHEQUE package Link: www.harmatheque.com Username: BNRM Password: htq-3500

In a similar initiative, the national library is offering free audiobook downloads on the same website. Titles include famous works that marked both Arab and French literature, as well as stories for children to help them develop literacy skills and imagination. The national library’s initiatives aim to help entertain readers during the coronavirus crisis, now characterized by a lack of activity.

Among similar cultural initiatives, the Moroccan National Foundation of Museums (FNM), started to offer free online museum visits on March 20 through a 360° virtual immersion.

Meanwhile, the Tenor Foundation for culture started to stream free live music on March 17 to entertain people staying home, and expressed a strong desire to stay connected with music lovers.“We cannot do without playing for our audience,” organizers told the press.

Read also: UNESCO Encourages Free Use of World Digital Library

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/04/298874/covid-19-moroccos-national-library-offers-free-e-books/
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