Six Moroccan Hispanists – all men, although in Morocco there are women like Fatiha Benlabbah what they have been decades consecrated to the study and teaching of Spanish- drew on Wednesday at the Cervantes Institute of Rabat the panorama of the Spanish language in Morocco. Almost all agreed that the Spanish is in clear retreat in the country, but warned that the future can be exciting if the appropriate measures are taken.
What measures? In front of the round table, sitting in the front row, among an audience of about a hundred people, was the general director of the Cervantes Institute, Luis García Montero. Abderrahman The Fathi, poet and professor of literature at the University of Tetouan, said that among other measures, the Spanish authorities should exert diplomatic pressure on the Moroccan government to promote the teaching of Spanish in secondary education in Morocco, in the public school. "We train Spanish teachers and those teachers later find themselves without students in the classrooms. I know a young man who always wanted to be a Spanish teacher, he got the title. But now he teaches Arabic in a village in Tetouan. And that person takes advantage of the recreation to recite Lorca to his students. "
Another hispanist, Abdellatif Limami, 66, who has been a professor of literature for decades at the universities of Fez and Rabat, insisted: "At the University of Morocco we have Spanish teachers who [al no contar con alumnos] They charge and do not teach. Some do administrative work and others stay at home. " Limami indicated that the difficulty that the Spanish authorities put in giving visas to students does not help the development of Spanish. "When I was a student, they gave us a one-year visa in Spain. Now, university professors have to suffer a lot to get a visa for a month or two months, "he said. Limami reaped the applause of the Moroccan public when he said: "In Morocco, in addition to fishing [en referencia a los acuerdos de pesca con la Unión Europea] There is also a Spanish culture. "
For his part, Hossain Bouzineb, 71, originally from Alhucemas and doctor from the University of Seville, wanted to clarify that Spanish in Morocco is not a whim "but a necessity". "The study of Arabic literature and Moroccan history needs Spanish. The history of the moriscos who arrived in Morocco is written in Spanish. 80% of the history of this country is written in Spanish. If the letters of our kings are preserved, it is because you Spaniards have kept them in their archives. "
Bouzineb said that although Morocco's independence from France was signed in 1956, in reality, the French continued to impose their programs in the Ministry of Education for 15 or 20 more years. "These so-called 'benefactors' prevented the development of Spanish in Morocco," said the Hispanist.
Among the audience was Sahar Ouafqa, a 27-year-old Moroccan doctoral student of Spanish, who emphasized the fact that the foreign language that is most demanded in Moroccan schools is English. "From the age of 14, students who have better grades manage to study English. And the mediocre ones go to Spanish. I chose Spanish in Fez because I liked the accent of the newscast, but 90% of my colleagues did it out of obligation, because they were not given the opportunity to study English, "Ouafqa told this newspaper. "Another problem with Spanish is that the studies are not focused on the labor market. If you finish your degree in college, you only have to work as a teacher or a translator. And finally, most end up as telemarketers. There should be tourism studies in Spanish. "
Luis García Montero, the director of Cervantes, thanked all attendees for the freedom with which they had expressed themselves. Then, he told this newspaper: "From the selfish point of view, Cervantes can benefit from the fact that the Moroccan student does not find in his public schools what he needs and ends up coming to Cervantes. But in the long run, what is going to really boost the Spanish in Morocco is that it forms part of their formal education ".
Javier Galván, director of Cervantes in Rabat, said that as an initial measure to promote Spanish, an Observatory to study development has been created in the last year. "It's already created, and we've had several meetings. But now we have to provide it with means. In reality nobody is dedicated to investigate what is the state of Spanish in Morocco. I do it alone in my spare time. "
The majority of the participants in the round table conspired to work with enthusiasm. Galván himself indicated that, despite all the regrets, the Cervantes Institute is recovering the students it lost during the economic crisis between 2008 and 2016. "Right now we are at the level we had in 2012," he said. Although the price of Cervantes classes is only available to an elite in Morocco, Galván said that the increase in enrollment may be a sign of the greater interest in society by Spanish.