Since independence in 1956, Morocco has actively promoted Arabic and Arab culture through successive waves of “Arabization” policies in its educational system. Yet, French educational diplomas continue to be crucial resources in Morocco, while national Moroccan degrees retain little social and economic currency. Relying on ethnographic fieldwork in Morocco carried out in 2018, this article looks at students from various socioeconomic backgrounds, asks how the grip of French education seventy years after Moroccan independence is experienced on the ground, and provides historical context to account for this situation. It argues that Morocco is an extreme but representative example of how former French colonies—and countries in the Global South—have created new forms of dependence due to their attempts to expand access to education on limited budgets.
Frédéric Viguier is a Sociologist of Education and the Welfare State at the Institute of French Studies at New York University. His research focuses on inequalities in France and the Francophone world, how they are perceived and represented, and whether they are corrected though social policies and education. His book on the history of the French welfare state since 1945, La Cause des pauvres en France (Presses de Sciences Po) was published in 2020. He is currently working on a book that examines the paradoxical persistence of French education in Morocco since its independence and the consequences of this persistence on class inequalities. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org