Arab World English Journal, December 2016   ASELS Annual Conference Proceedings, 2016, Mohammed V University of Rabat,Morocco                                                                                                                                     Pp. 43 -56

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Reframing Language Roles in Moroccan Higher Education: Context and Implications of the Advent of English


Yamina El Kirat  El Allame
Department of English
Faculty of Letters & Human Sciences
Mohammed V University, Rabat. Morocco

Youssef Laaraj
Doctoral Program Center
Faculty of Letters & Human Sciences
Mohammed V University in Rabat. Morocco


Morocco is a multilingual society where different languages are in use. Besides the national and official languages, Moroccans also use a number of foreign languages among which are French, Spanish, and English. Over the last few years, foreign languages have acquired more space and prestige, especially in the educational system. In this respect, the Ministry of Higher Education is promoting the position of the English language through ministerial notes imposing it as a requirement at the doctoral level and for the recruitment of new university professors. With the spread of English as the international language and the language of research and science, current debate concerns also the language of instruction in science streams. The aim of the present study is to address three main research questions, namely (i) what status does English have in Morocco in general and in Higher Education in particular; (ii) what is the language policy, if any, that organizes the growing of English in Morocco; (iii) what are the causes and implications of the growth of English as the language of science in Morocco. This research intends to (i) reveal the conditioning factors for the spread and promotion of English in the Moroccan higher education (ii) investigate the potential implications of the growth of English on the other foreign languages and particularly the languages of instruction languages, namely Arabic and French. The study adopts a mixed approach making use of a survey to collect Moroccan university students and education professionals’ opinions about the impact of the Moroccan English language policy. The study will also analyze the official documents and discourses and the academic literature.
Key words: Language policy, language roles, language system, science Medium of instruction