The Moroccan ministry of education has denied claims that it has suspended special provisions in examinations for students with learning disabilities.
The accusation was made by the National Union of Associations (UNAHM) within the field of mental illness and disability, which called the move “discriminatory” when it condemned the decision by the ministry to suspend the new list of procedures for Year 6 examinations earlier this month.
According to the NGO, disabled students will now be expected to sit the exams under the same conditions as non-disabled students. However, in a statement issued earlier this week, the ministry of education denied taking such a decision. “Only certain cases where students suffer from psychomotor disability are affected,” insisted a spokesperson.
Furthermore, all the candidates with some sort of handicap will still benefit from an adequate adaptation to exam conditions, said the ministry. “Forms of accommodation must be provided by provincial medical boards, depending on the type and degree of disability included in the candidate’s medical record.” Such accommodation includes the allowance to have an authorised person accompanying the student in the examination room, or the exam itself may be extended by half an hour.
According to the president of the UNAHM, though, the ministry’s statement is “vague and very contradictory,” reported HuffPost Morocco. “We have worked on the official documents,” explained Sabah Zemamma. “People with disabilities can no longer benefit from proper support, which is limited in any case.”
Zemamma claimed that the government is simply running away from its responsibilities and setting the scene so that disabled students are unable to pass out of school. A meeting was held on Tuesday afternoon with several collectives and associations active in this field to prepare a collective response to the ministry of education, she added.
In Morocco, one in four families has at least one member with a disability, and nearly 6.8 per cent of the population suffer likewise, according to a study by the ministry of health.