Striking teachers in Morocco have faced violent repression from secutiry forces. The teachers, protesting in the capital, Rabat, carried banners showing the faces of their colleagues who had been severely beaten by the police while exercising their right to demonstrate. Teachers have been protesting, sitting in and striking over the last four weeks.

One primary school teacher told the website Moroccan World News, "We are suffering terribly. We have been beaten. We have been injured. We have been ignored. We have been treated callously, cruelly and savagely." Another teachers said, "This bloodshed is a sign that teachers have no slightest value in this country.” Many teachers had to be taken to hospital.

The teachers are fighting for their right to be promoted once they have got their degrees, which has been taken away from them. They say they are being threatened and bullied by the authorities as well as security forces. They are supported by some of the teaching unions and human rights groups. Many parents say they blame the government not the teachers for the fact that their children are missing out on weeks of education while their teachers take strike action.

The group leading the teachers, the National Co-ordination of Teachers excluded from Promotion, has organised a mass protest both against the substantive issue and against police brutality today, December 11th, which is the international day of human rights.

One teacher summed up the feelings of the striking teachers:

Beating teachers in public would add insult to injury. How would teachers face their students after they rejoin their classes, given that their pictures fainting, wounded or bleeding circulate on Facebook from student to another? How would they inspire their students with values of citizenship, leadership, engagement and commitment while the broken arm, the bruised eye or the injured leg still hurts? How would they motivate their students for better achievements while they need motivation themselves after their humiliation in Rabat?

As a teacher, I chose this job after a long love story. It was a teacher who first taught me how to hold a pen. It was a teacher who first opened my eyes to the world and made me realize that the earth was never flat! It was a teacher who first implanted respect, tolerance, love, diligence and other good values in me. It was a teacher who first believed in me and showed me the right way. I developed a great passion for the job thanks to all the inspiring teachers I had (and I still have).

I oftentimes lied to my family and pretended to have applied to other jobs but actually I never did because I never imagined myself doing another job. As lover of this job, I believe the reality of education in Morocco would not improve without the recognition of teachers. The teachers who are beaten in Rabat – many of them are poets, writers, painters etc- have sacrificed a lot of their time, personal comfort and money in their quest for knowledge. Don’t they deserve reward for the efforts they made to obtain their MAs and BA to eventually benefit their students and their country?