Most deaf and hard of hearing children and youth in Morocco lack access to inclusive education, risking their learning potential and long-term well-being.
There are over one million deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) people in Morocco. While school enrollment statistics are limited, it is estimated that approximately 4,000 DHH children and youth are enrolled in Grades K-12. Only 10.3 percent of DHH people attend primary school, and only 2.6 percent attend secondary school. To date, efforts to support their education and well-being have been fragmented. Most mainstream schools in Morocco lack the resources to support deaf education or teachers that can teach in Moroccan Sign Language (MSL). In addition, the number of MSL interpreters is limited, and those that serve as interpreters often do not have formal training to effectively interpret between spoken French or Arabic and MSL whether inside or outside the classroom. Moreover, DHH students continue to face stigma and discrimination at school and in their communities. These challenges create an isolating environment for deaf learners and affect their learning and well-being.
Efforts to address these challenges and meet the needs of deaf students are in their early stages. The Government of Morocco began an integrated primary education classroom pilot where children’s individual needs are considered, and all learners participate and achieve together. The Lalla Asmae Foundation in Rabat is leading the way by providing teacher training and secondary education for DHH youth in Morocco.
To support the government’s overall goal to provide inclusive education in Morocco for all, USAID signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Lalla Asmae Foundation, and Mohammed V University. The agreement established a framework for collaboration through the implementation of the Morocco Inclusive Education Teacher Training Activity (MITTA). This four-year project aims to:
- DEVELOP A COURSE AND TRAIN specialized deaf education teachers in MSL and Bilingual Deaf Education.
- Prepare an IN-SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAM ON DEAF EDUCATION for current primary school-level teachers.
- Foster collaboration with Mohammed V University on a DEAF EDUCATION CERTIFICATE PROGRAM for future teachers interested in specializing in deaf education.
Build the capacity of the deaf community to PROMOTE DEAF EDUCATION AND RAISE AWARENESS of issues faced by people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
- Completed mapping of Moroccan deaf organizations to assess their needs and identify representatives to validate content for MSL courses, receive MSL trainings, and participate in the design and implementation of capacity building efforts for the deaf community
- Identified a group of DHH people who are MSL users to benefit from MSL training and serve as MSL experts and trainers in the future
- Developed MSL and Bilingual Deaf Education (BDE) teaching materials, including a training roll-out plan and syllabus for the MSL and BDE courses for the Ministry of Education
- Revised Ministry of National Education, Preschool and Sports needs assessment and proposal to collaborate with MITTA and confirmed alignment with MITTA’s work plan
FACTS AND FIGURES
- DevTech Systems, Inc.
- University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Center on Deafness
HOST COUNTRY PARTNERS
- Ministry of National Education, Preschool and Sports
- Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation
- Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and the Family
- Lalla Asmae Foundation
- Mohammed V University
July 2021 - June 2025
Selma Abaouss, Program Management Specialist