The rise of an evolution in Moroccan education with Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom Program

Translate this post

Nowadays, the urge to invest in the field of education in Morocco or the globe has never been stronger. People, organizations and even governments are fighting the clock and going above and beyond to provide the suitable context for our children to grow

Official logo of Wikimedia MA User Group

and evolve the way the system needs them to in order to catch up with the revolutionary work being done worldwide. Regardless of their background, students have an army supporting them and advocating for their rights and their developments to help them become the leaders of the future, and the best versions they could be of good world citizens. The topic of this paper today is none other than the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom project led by Wikimedia MA, to nationally promote the initiatives launched and approved by the Wikimedia Foundation to help make education free and accessible to all. 

On one hand, many teachers often ask themselves: ‘what else can we offer this generation of students who seem to have everything?’. And on the other hand, students also wonder to what extent does the theoretical work in classrooms prepares them to face real life challenges. This paradoxical encounter between the ideologies of teachers and students sharing the same missions and objectives often leads to creating a gap, which reflects a great malfunction. It results in generating a broken system of recycling information, instead of producing it. If one is to understand the requirements and focus of the recruitment market nowadays, which is among what schools prepare students to head to eventually, it is quite obvious how it targets soft skills, communication, problem solving, critical thinking and such. However, if this is being compared to what students do in the classroom, chances are only a few curricula offer courses promoting or encouraging such techniques within students.

On-site training session for educators and inspectors on how to apply the guidelines for the program.

Mostly, the case is to give them a task and ask them to do it without enhancing on the manner. In this context, students majorly care about the result as it is the only criteria affecting their grade. Consequently, the method used to do the task is irrelevant, even though it could be corrupted. For this reason, the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom project aims to help both operators; teachers and students tighten that gap by challenging them to develop vital media and information literacy skills for the 21st century and stay up to date with the evolving world. 

The project was initially launched in 2020, making its debut in three countries only: Bolivia, the Philippines, and Morocco. The concept mainly focused on using the Wikipedia platform not as a mere source of information, but as a tool for media and information literacy. It is unmistakably known that Wikipedia is the fastest, most common generator of knowledge for students across the globe, and if anyone was to conduct the easiest research on anything, it would be amongst the first sources to depend on. This simply meant that students were not putting any effort in purchasing knowledge. Thus, after serious consideration, and instead of holding students accountable for their lack of seriousness and motivation, the leaders of the project took advantage of all parties’ critical engagement with the Wikipedia platform and chose to exploit it as a pedagogical tool. This way, teachers collaborate to make using Wikipedia a leverage instead of a short cut. The program offers teachers training to  develop MIL (Media and information literacy) skills through Wikipedia, to understand how information is produced,  to access and evaluate content, as well as to identify biases and knowledge gaps in provided information. And having teachers be a crucial part of shaping the program helps accordingly in upgrading students’ autonomy and boosts their accountability for the work they present in class eventually. 

A group of educators being certified after an on-site training.

To talk more about this project and how it works, especially in Morocco, would be pointless without advertising the impeccable results it has accomplished ever since it was launched four years ago. So far, there have been 3 editions of the program, about which one can proudly say that they have been nothing but absolute success. The statistics of the last two editions 2022-2023 confirm that fact to a great degree. This; however, does not overshadow the success of the first edition, which included the registration of 100 participants and the the graduation of 28 of them. The only crucial element of difference is the fact that the program was then affected by the Covid-19 restrictions, which tightly framed the proposed agenda, and settled for online training only.

Nevertheless, the leaders of the project took it as an opportunity to improve the second edition in 2022. It was noticeable how it worked out perfectly since the numbers of registrations as well as the number of graduates tripled in the course of less than 12 months. In addition to that, the training was arranged according to the participants’ preferences, both online and in-person. Moreover, the second edition witnessed the creation of Wikipedia Clubs in 7 schools across Morocco and the innovation of motivational awards for teachers.All this positive outcome did not go unnoticed, as it resulted in two national partnerships with the Reading Network Association in Morocco, and the Directorate of the Ministry of National Education in El Hajeb province.

A statistical comparison between the rates of beneficiaries and graduates throughout the three editions of the program between the years 2020-2023.

Last year’s edition won the same recognition as the numbers of registrations and graduates doubled (700 registered and 120 graduates), more workshops and trainings were available for students and teachers, two more national partnerships with the Directorate of the Ministry of National Education in Moulay Yaacoub province and the Regional Academy of Education of the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region. But the most glorious win was opening the door to include teachers from other Arabic-speaking countries in the journey.

Honoring the Regional Director of the regional delegation of education of L’Hajeb province.

The path the Reading Wikipedia in the Classroom project is taking in Morocco is doubtlessly filled with challenges, but so is any great achievement in life. There are people working in the shadows and fighting for it to get bigger and better. Their objectives are clear and pure; make education accessible, free and character-building. There are no hidden agenda and not ulterior motives but to offer a well-rounded educational experience where teachers are aware and up to date with the latest trends and technologies related to the field, and where students are faced with challenges and situations that push them further in the journey of autonomy, critical thinking and knowledge producing. At the end of the day, that is the hope for the future generations.

The journey is long, but the team of Wikimedia MA works non-stop to take this year’s edition to the next level by bettering their offers, varying their channels and their partners. Nothing is more motivating, nor rewarding in itself than the testimonies of our fellow educators; like teacher Mohamed Farkal’s testimony which brings to life the program’s transformative impact:

The training has helped me differenciate between various digital educational resources. I now aknowledge Wikipedia as a reliable source of information, it resembles a beacon to understand the general idea about a subject, in addition to some of its resources. What stroke me the most at this point was the massive number of misinterpretations relating to Wikipedia amongst both educators and students.

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?