In October 2003, Morocco's king launched a nationwide campaign against illiteracy under the theme “Massirat Nour” ("a march toward the light"). The campaign was part of a larger programme to fight poverty, exclusion and marginalization by reducing the illiteracy rate of people older than 10 years of age to less than 20 per cent by 2010 -- and to eradicate it by the year 2015.
ICTs are a central component of these efforts. The ICT aspect of Massirat Nour is aided in part by Advancing Learning and Employability for a Better Future (ALEF), an educational development programme that focuses on the use of ICTs to improve education and employment for Moroccans. ALEF targets four main areas in Morocco where their work is most concentrated: Casablanca, Meknès, Chaouia, and Oriental.
The ALEF program uses ICTs in both basic and vocational education to improve literacy and employability skills. ALEF works with partners, both public and private, that help with funding and implementation. USAID is the primary funding source, and individual initiatives and training sessions have their own partners. Aside from the Government of Morocco, the Academy for Educational Development has helped to implement several training sessions with ALEF. One of the ALEF projects focuses on women’s literacy, working with 28 different associations and using learner-friendly materials based on the Family Code and pre-literacy approach in Moroccan Arabic and Berber dialects.
ALEF strives to improve ICT abilities through the use of “The ICT Strategic Pillar of ALEF.”
The four components of this pillar are access, sustainability, content, and support to ICT policies.
Access: ALEF promotes ICT access by providing, adapting, or improving ICT infrastructure.
Sustainability: ALEF works to develop the capacity of its partners by updating and creating new training materials that will allow its instructors to continue ICT work even when ALEF is no longer directly working with them.
Content: To promote ICT learning and ICT literacy, ALEF develops learning materials and platforms for sharing content that can be used by participants of ALEF programs.
Support to ICT Policies: ALEF shares results, approaches, and lessons learned from each project with local, regional, and national governments to help advise them on ICT policy.
ALEF uses each pillar to promote ICT projects such as a collaborative education portal for teachers in Morocco, which allows them to share ICT uses and resources within the educational community.
Also in Morocco, ALEF applied its ICT Strategic Pillar to a project that promoted e-equality in the IT sector. Just as with other projects, ALEF chose partners that could help fund and implement the program. USAID helped to fund the program, and UNIFEM, Cisco, the Academy for Educational Development, and the Government of Morocco all contributed to its implementation. This specific program provided training to 11 Moroccan high schools and vocational schools, using techniques commonly relied upon by ALEF, such as training in job-preparedness, ICT skills, and other skill sets needed to enable young women to be more employable.
ALEF chronicled its achievements in a timeline that details each training conference and the results of its projects. While ALEF was operational, 2,500 women participated in the literacy courses, trained by 28 local NGOs. In 16 secondary education schools, classrooms were equipped with ICTs, and a training center was coordinated in each region that ALEF targeted. Over the course of the program, 2,425 days of training were administered, and approximately 1,500 secondary school teachers were trained.
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