Welcome to our blog series for the 2012 World Innovation Summit for Education publication, which focuses on radical innovation at the education/work interface. As we travel the world checking out the most innovative examples of projects, programmes and people in this area we're blogging about our experiences.
28th March, 2012
I'm in Casablanca where, every day, street protests can be seen focusing on Morocco's chronic unemployment. Into its second year, the Arab Spring is playing out most agonisingly in the bloody clashes in Syria and elsewhere heading up the news night after night. Other parts of the region are undergoing quieter convulsions.
In Morocco, after early unrest, the King established a Constitutional Council, signalling his intention to move towards a constitutional monarchy and civil society. Whilst this may, for the time being defuse more explosive protests, there are signs that the problems afflicting youth are not yet taken too seriously by the new Prime Minister. Reacting to outrage at the 30% unemployment rate amongst those under 29, in his monthly address before the parliament, Morocco’s head of the Government Abdelilah Benkirane reiterated last week that “the livelihood of the unemployed is in the hands of God and not in the Government’s”.
Graduates on the street have not taken this too well. They are regularly to be seen - in very orderly demos, chanting and clapping, but so far with no hint of violence - demanding action. Social activists want to know why Morocco has democratically elected the government if people’s social and economic conditions are within the hands of God.
It's widely acknowledged that part of the problem lies in the fact that so many seek employment in the secure public sector rather than in a private sector desperate to grow. Within the universities, one response has been to require all 3rd year students to take a module on entrepreneurialism. Fine: but how to deliver it meaningfully?
I'm spending time this week with INJAZ Al Maghrib, a not-for-profit which has pioneered an innovative approach to this challenge. I'm meeting students and business partners, and their perspectives are fascinating. For the time being, these students believe that setting up a business might be a better route than taking to the streets.
The book will be launched at the annual event November 13-15. You can also follow the making of the book here.