Morocco has become a privileged destination for English and American establishments which open their doors with many advantages. Slowly the language of Shakespeare is in the process of dethroning that of Molière.
A study by the British Council indicates that 40% of young Moroccans consider it more important to learn English than French. Only 10% of them favor the need to learn French. Those who campaign in favor of English believe that this language is a vector of education, employment and openness to the world, reports Jeune Afrique.
Khalil is 21 years old, and is a 4th year student at University College London. For him, the choice was obvious, even though he spent his schooling at the French mission in Morocco. Like him, many students prefer to continue their studies in an Anglo-Saxon country, rather than in France. For Sara Mejdoubi, researcher and director of the Languages, Cultures and Civilizations Pole of the International University of Rabat, “any linguistic strategy reflects the vision of a country”.
Former diplomat Ahmed Faouzi agrees. He argues that a language “isn’t just for communicating. It is also an identity marker and an ideological vector. The power of the English language, like other languages in the past, reflects the balance of power between nations, which today is in favor of the Anglo-American axis, “he wrote in a column published in Medias24.
By establishing itself in the world as a privileged language for negotiations, trade and for some time for teaching and research, English has become an essential language in Morocco, especially as the kingdom aspires to climb on the roof of the world in terms of development.
French is also losing ground because it has ceased to be attractive. There is also a tense atmosphere that has reigned in recent years, especially around the debates on immigration and Islam in France. For Moroccan students whose parents can afford, studying in Canada or Great Britain is preferable. For Khalil, who is studying engineering, the question does not even arise. “Already, I can choose my specialization directly, without having to wait for the third or fourth year. Then we acquire the same knowledge as if we were in France, but here the teachers and the administration are much more accessible, “he explains.
Despite this gradual replacement of French by English, Ahmed Faouzi remains convinced that French could not disappear. “French is part of our heritage, of our conscious and our subconscious”. He also indicates that “Moroccans have always bathed in a multilingual environment. Between Arabic and French spoken by a large part of the population, the Spanish spoken in the northern provinces, not to mention the different dialects such as Berber, Morocco has been built around a heterogeneous linguistic identity “.