Participation from Ministry of Education Increases Sense of Pride in Morocco’s Educational Advances

A unique aspect of School-to-School International’s work in Morocco is the use of officials from the Moroccan Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MOE) as enumerators, or data collectors, for the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA). Good enumerators are vital to the success of an assessment because they assure students that they are not being graded on their responses and create a relaxed atmosphere for the students when conducting an oral assessment of their literacy skills. This positive environment prepares the students to perform to their best ability while being tested. Using Ministry officials as enumerators builds their capacity and enables them to continue to conduct assessments after the project ends. This model had even farther reaching effects in Morocco because, through continuous participation and involvement, the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training took greater ownership of the project.

School-to-School International (STS) is a partner on the Reading for Success – Small-Scale Experimentation (RFS-SSE) activity in Morocco. RFS-SSE is the current active component of a broader USAID initiative. RFS-SSE is designed to reinforce ongoing collaborations between USAID/Morocco and the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to improve reading instruction in Morocco. STS leverages our extensive assessment experience across the globe to conduct assessments of student learning using the EGRA tool and measures changes in teacher and school administrator behaviors using the Snapshot of School Management Effectiveness (SSME) methodology. STS provides short-term technical support to the project, working alongside the MOE in designing data collection tools, facilitating enumerator training, conducting student assessments and teacher surveys, and completing data analysis of results. STS and Chemonics International have worked together to develop an evidence base of effective approaches to improve reading skills in targeted primary schools.

STS led a workshop on EGRA tool development in early December 2015 in the Moroccan capital of Rabat. Government officials, curriculum experts, and teachers were selected and invited by the Centre National de l’Evaluation et des Examens (CNEE) to attend the workshop. Eight of the participants were MOE officials representing the eight different Moroccan delegations where the project’s 90 target primary schools are located. These eight participants were crucial to the development of the EGRA tool, providing the necessary knowledge and cultural background needed for creating an assessment tailored to the Moroccan educational context. In the enumerator training that followed in January 2016, these eight regional representatives became the lead liaisons between STS and the new enumerators during the training. This group of lead coordinators became known as the “Super Coaches,” given their active role in developing the EGRA tool and their contributions to training the enumerators in preparation for the baseline data collection.

STS Program Associate, Selene Rangel, recounts her experience working with MOE participants on the project:

At the time of the enumerator refresher training before the midline in May 2016, the “Super Coaches” were engaged in developing the reading lessons for RFS-SSE and were unable to attend STS’s EGRA workshop. However, on the last day of the enumerator training, a few of the “Super Coaches” stopped by the STS workshop during the morning tea break. As the STS team debriefed and planned for the following session, one of the coaches approached and greeted the team. It had been about four months since he had last worked alongside STS in preparation for the baseline data collection.

As we all sipped on Moroccan mint tea outside the training room, the coach inquired about how the current training was going and how the new regional coordinators were adjusting to their roles. It was very moving to sense his interest in the coordinators’ transition. His statement, “C’est notre projet” (It’s our project), really struck me because it carried a sense of ownership, responsibility, and pride for this project and the “Super Coaches’” work. Eager to find out more, he continued to inquire about our findings and the baseline report.

The RFS-SSE project has been a unique experience for STS because of the arrangement of working with enumerators appointed by the Moroccan Ministry of Education. Rather than having enumerators from a data collection firm, this structure allows for capacity building through continuous engagement by the enumerators throughout the life of the RFS-SSE activity. One of the most inspiring takeaways from this experimental activity has been seeing the participants from the Ministry of Education express a personal sense of duty and pride in their country’s education advancement through this reading project.

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