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Rabat – COVID-19 has not only impacted socio-economics in Morocco but also the education sector. The pandemic delayed the dreams of thousands of foreign students who were planning to continue their education at Moroccan institutions.
In previous academic seasons, statistics from Morocco’s Ministry of Education would find that Moroccan institutions attract thousands of students from across the world, especially from sub-Saharan Africa.
Data from the Moroccan education ministry’s Directorate of Strategies and Information Systems note that some 13,060 foreign students pursued their higher education in different Moroccan institutions in 2020. The number shows a significant increase from the 2018-2019 academic year, when 11,801 foreign students were enrolled in Moroccan universities.
For the 2017-2018 academic year, 11,439 students from overseas sat for classes in Morocco.
For this academic year, however, the crisis caused by COVID-19 has considerably impacted foreign students’ plans. This was especially due to the restriction of movement and border closure.
Morocco receives more than 6,000 enrollment applications every new academic season, according to the Director of Cooperation and Partnership at the ministry of education.
Over 80% of students applying to enroll at Moroccan students are from sub-Saharan Africa, which is in line with Morocco’s south-south cooperation.
However, the 2020-2021 academic year was different due to the spread of the pandemic.
He said students mobily at the global level “has been heavily impacted by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and our country is no exception.”
The closure of borders and preventive health measures led several students to reschedule or postpone their study plans abroad.
The official from the Moroccan education ministry emphasized that Morocco is committed to ensure the continuity of reception programs for international students.
For the coming academic year, the ministry seeks to catch up with the backlog of the current season, especially with the promising effectiveness of the COVID-19, Bennani explained.
Around 5,000 foreign students from 76 partner countries enrolled in Morocco’s institutions in the 2019-2020 academic year, with approximately 86% of the students from other African countries.
Morocco is among the countries that offer scholarships to students from different countries.
Last year, Morocco’s International Cooperation Agency (AMCI) said that the country offered 150 scholarships to students from Gabon.
In addition, Morocco has previously offered scholarships to students from different African countries including Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and others as part of its scientific and cultural diplomacy in Africa.