Survey points to ‘shift to English’ in Moroccan students’ attitudes

When asked which languages were the most important to learn, 40% of students in Morocco, according to the results of an online survey, choose English, while only 10% mentioned French.
Wednesday 28/04/2021
A teacher at Mansour Eddahbi College in Casablanca, Morocco. (AFP)
A teacher at Mansour Eddahbi College in Casablanca, Morocco. (AFP)

RABAT--The results of an online survey published to mark the UN’s English Language Day appear to show that two thirds of young Moroccans believe that within five years, English is set to replace French as the country’s primary language.

The British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities, ran an online poll of 1,200 young Moroccans between the ages of 15 and 25.

According to the Council’s report, ‘Shift to English in Morocco’, when asked which languages were the most important to learn, 40% choose English, while only 10% mentioned French.

Almost three quarters of the young people said they believed the shift to English would benefit the country’s ambitions to become an international business and tourism hub.

They also believed that English would assist them in their education and career aspirations, while 85% expected the number of young Moroccans using English to increase over the next decade.

The British Council, with two centres in the country, in Rabat and Casablanca, has been developing on online learning. The French rival, Alliance Français and Institut Français currently operates a dozen centres in Morocco.

French still remains generally a strong second language in the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania, behind Arabic.