Moroccan medical students who returned from Ukraine are scheduled to take exams on Saturday in preparation for enrolling in Morocco’s private universities, but many are unhappy that they don’t have the option of enrolling at a public university instead.
The students could continue their studies at their universities in Ukraine through distance education. But for those who want to integrate into Moroccan faculties of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry, taking a placement exam and enrolling in a private university remains the only path that Morocco’s Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation has offered them.
Students and their families are protesting that decision.
“Ministry officials promised, at the start of the Ukrainian war, to integrate the returning students into Moroccan public universities,” Mustafa Morabbi, vice president of the National Association for Parents of Moroccan Students in Ukraine, told Al-Fanar Media. “We have organised several vigils in Rabat, yet the ministry has not responded to our demands.”
“Ministry officials promised, at the start of the Ukrainian war, to integrate the returning students into Moroccan public universities. We have organised several vigils in Rabat, yet the ministry has not responded to our demands.”Moustafa Morabbi, Vice president of the National Association of Parents of Moroccan Students in Ukraine
In their search for other solutions, Morabbi’s association met with the chargé d’affaires of the Ukrainian Embassy in Rabat and held online meetings with several Ukrainian university presidents to discuss problems of distance education. The universities they talked to included Kharkiv National University, Dnipro State Medical University, and Zaporozhye State Medical University, he said.
Morabbi also called on Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene to “rescue about 7,000 students who fled Ukraine and are still lost in some European countries.”
‘Exorbitant’ Costs at Private Universities
Salma Bouslikhane, a second-year Moroccan pharmacy student at Zaporozhye State Medical University, said returning students could not afford the high tuition fees that private universities charge.
“Tuition fees at Moroccan private universities exceed 130,000 Moroccan dirhams per year (about $12,000),” she said. “That is exorbitant. If our families could afford that, we would not have decided to emigrate and study in Ukraine.”
Bouslikane said her university in Ukraine gave students an option to continue their studies online and promised them a 30 percent discount on tuition costs due to the war. She called on Morocco’s Ministry of Higher Education to help these students too.
The online option is going “well despite the war,” Bouslikane said. “Ukrainian university professors make great sacrifices to keep teaching their students remotely, under bombing and the sirens that students hear daily while attending their online lessons,” she said. “We experience with them the war conditions.”
The Ministry’s Decisions
In a television interview this month, Mohamed Khalfaoui, secretary general of Morocco’s Ministry of Higher Education, said that the ministry had suggested several solutions for medical students after a meeting with the chargé d’affaires of the Ukrainian Embassy in Rabat and the National Association of Parents of Moroccan Students in Ukraine.
“Tuition fees at Moroccan private universities exceed 130,000 Moroccan dirhams per year (about $12,000). That is exorbitant. If our families could afford that, we would not have decided to emigrate and study in Ukraine.”Salma Bouslikhane, a second-year Moroccan pharmacy student at Zaporozhye State Medical University
“One of these solutions is to enable students to conduct their clinical training at Morocco’s university institutions, in coordination with Ukrainian universities where students continue their distance studies,” he said.
The second solution is the set of exams set for Saturday, which students of medicine, pharmacy and dentistry must take in preparation for enrolling at private university institutions. Such students represent 80 percent of those who have returned from Ukraine, Khalfaoui said.
As for students who were doing medical specialisations in Ukraine, the ministry required them to obtain the equivalency that entails two years of clinical training in Morocco, according to Moroccan laws. Khalfaoui said it was agreed with the Ukrainian institutions to conduct clinical training at public hospitals in Morocco.
After a coordination between the higher-education ministry and Ministry of Agriculture, students of veterinary medicine, topography, and agricultural engineering, returning from Ukraine, can join the public Hassan II Institute of Agronomy and Veterinary Medicine, provided they pass a written exam and an oral interview.
In a statement issued on September 14, the higher-education ministry said Moroccans who were studying bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, except for architecture, topography and agricultural engineering, in Ukraine would be allowed to continue their studies in public universities in Morocco.
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These students could be treated exceptionally from other majors because of their limited numbers, the ministry said. The statement also asked students to deliver their documents to the headquarters of the public university institution they want to join.
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