Gender, Literacy, and Empowerment in Morocco

Gender, Literacy, and Empowerment in Morocco

Gender, Literacy, and Empowerment in Morocco

Gender, Literacy, and Empowerment in Morocco

Synopsis

The field of female literacy in Morocco is devoid of any academic research that is centred on how non-literate women need and acquire literacy. This text fills that gap. Its aim is to contribute to gender research efforts for a better integration of non-literate women in sustainable development. Chapters in this insightful book cover: * conceptions of literacy and related issues * the planning and organization of Moroccan adult literacy campaigns * the learners' characteristics, literacy obstacles, and learning needs * adult literacy and gender. One of the distinctive features of this book is that it does contend itself with revealing the traditional definition of literacy that has not been adopted for more than forty years after the launching of the first literacy campaigns, but it also suggests ways of designing emancipatory and empowering gender based-literacy programs.

Excerpt

Women's literacy has become a priority target of many developing countries since WCEFA, the World Conference on Education for All, which was held in Jomtien, Thailand, in March 1990. The conference acknowledges the need to reduce the gender gap in illiteracy by encouraging and ensuring girls' and women's education. Accordingly, non-governmental and voluntary associations in Morocco joined the government's efforts to combat female illiteracy. It is to be noted, though, that ten years after WCEFA, two million Moroccan children were left out of primary school and female illiteracy has decreased only moderately, as it is still as high as 60 percent at the national level and 80 percent at the rural one.

In fact, although great, the effort to reduce female illiteracy in Morocco remains inefficient and this is, partly, due to high drop-out rates. By way of example, on the eve of the undertaking of this research, the drop out rate was as high as 72 percent (Proceedings of la Direction de la Lutte contre l'Analphabétisme, 1997). Evidently, the challenge is not only how to attract girls and women, who due to the gender gap in education constitute the majority of the participants in Moroccan adult literacy campaigns and programs, but how to retain them and sustain their motivations. Given this context, where retaining women in adult literacy classes is problematic, there is conjecture that the designed courses do not answer their needs. This creates a rationale for carrying a comprehensive needs analysis research that is centred on women by identifying their profiles, the causes of their illiteracy and dropping out of the literacy classes, assessing their literacy needs and attainments, and analyzing the teaching materials through which they are made literate.

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