Morocco’s public universities are often associated with too much theory in learning, leaving students without the practical skills they need to find a job. The country’s King Mohammed VI has described some university programs as “factories” producing unemployable graduates. He wants higher education to adapt to the job market.
One university faculty stands out as an exception: the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Sciences of the Hassan II University at Ain Sebaa in Casablanca. Its dean, Jamila Settar, has used its limited resources to develop a program that illustrates how an educational institution can tackle employability head on.
Chourouk is a faculty graduate—a dynamic young professional. At just 24, she is deputy head of a food distribution company. “I wanted to enroll in a public university to show that this is not a place for losers,” she said. After completing a bachelor’s degree, she felt prepared for a demanding job market. “It’s because I had the chance to kick start my professional career from my university days,” she added.
A placement program introduced by Settar in 2007 aims to integrate students into the job market by combining classroom learning with hands-on internships. Settar secured aid from Germany’s cooperation agency to help train faculty staff in using it. More than 85% of the faculty’s bachelor’s students find a job within a year of graduating. “This was my initial intention when I developed this program,” said Settar.
In their second year, students are taught how to introduce themselves, identify their professional strengths and weaknesses, and develop their resume. “We teach them to feel confident in an interview,” said one coach who teaches students how to prepare. Graduates attend a job fair to which companies are invited to recruit students, giving senior year students a chance to meet potential employers. They are taught to be competitive and choose professions where demand is projected to grow.