The World In Stamps

A journey in a stamps collection

Education in French Morocco 1955

In 1955, the moroccan postal services issued a set of four stamps with the theme of French-Moroccan solidarity compaign. The stamps focused on the modern education in Morocco.

Traditional Education at the end of the 19th century

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A moroccan pupil. YT-340
Until the beginning of the french protectorat, Morocco like other islamic countries had a traditional education system focused on the religion. In that system, young children would learn to read, write and recite the Coran in a traditional school called “Msid” or “Kuttab”.
The children who learn the Coran by heart had the possibility to continue their theological studies in higher education institutions named “Zawiya”. More previledged children could continue their studies at the university of al-Qarawiyyin (also noted Karaouiyine or جامعة القرويين) in Fez.

Modern Education in Morocco after 1912

Starting in 1912, the french protectorat authorities started planning the establishment of a modern education system. This system was intended to prepare future civil servants. It was based on two major pillars: the Muslim schools, and Muslim Colleges (illustrated below). They were created by the  royal decree (Dahir) of February 18, 1916 on the organization of indigenous schools.

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Franco-Muslim education- YT 339

A Circular of August 30, 1920 fixed the study plan and programs for the education of the natives and the creation during the same year of the Directorate of Public Education which supervised three education systems:  European education, Jewish education and Muslim education.

Muslim college Moulay Idriss in Fez

The College Moulay Idriss was established in Fez in 1914. It was one of two modern schools established under the french protectorate by General Lyautey, the french governor. The other one was College Moulay Youssef in Rabat (Today lycée Moulay Youssef). 

The two schools were offivially established by a royal decree (Dhahir) in February 1916 under the name of “Collège musulman” or Muslim Colleges.

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Middle school Moulay Idriss in Fes. YT342

At the beginning of the french protectorat in 1912, the city of Fez was the capital of Morocco. Moulay Idriss College was intended to train future central and local officials of the Moroccan Administration (pashas, khalifas, financial agents or judicial officials).

It opened its doors in October 1914, and had a single class of a dozen of boy students issued from imminent families of Fez. 

Mohammed V lay the foundation stone of the student housing in 1940.
Sultan Mohammed V and prince Moulay Al-Hassan lay the foundation stone of the student housing in 1940 (see source below*).
College Moulay Idriss in Fez.
Entrance of the college Moulay Idriss in Fez. Cliché H. Bressolette. Années 1930.

The teaching was mainly delivered in arabic, with french taught as a second language. The students also attended classes of law and theology at the university of al-Qarawiyyin (also noted Karaouiyine or جامعة القرويين), the oldest universities in the world according to the UNESCO.

The college didn’t have a student housing, and thus admitted only students who live in Fez. In 1940, the Sultan Mohamad V, and his crown prince Moualy Al-Hassan (Future King Hassan II of Morocco) laid the foundation stone for a student housing that could accomodate 50 students.

The students housing received the first residents in 1942. 

Until early 1930s, the college had less than 50 students, but it continued to grow yearly to reach 520 students in 1950. 

The college has become a high school that operates under the name “Lycée Moulay Idriss“.

Muslim School in Camp Boulhaut (Benslimane):

The city of camp Boulhaut was first established as a french military camp om 1907 during the campaign of Morocco or the military conquest of Morocco. The first urban area was designed as a residential area of army officers. 

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School in Camp-Boulhaut – Ben Slimane – YT 341

The urban part of the camp growed towards the the town of Bouznika and progressively to become a small town with a large Moroccan population. The stamps above feature a “Muslim school” established by the occupation authorities for the local population.

Camp Boulhaut is a today the Moroccan city named Benslimane. It is located about 60 km south-east of Rabat and 60 km north-east of Casablanca. It is name dis after “Sidi Muhammad bin Suleiman,” whose tomb is located a kilometer away to the southwestern part of the city center.

Benslimane had 58,194 inhabitants in 2014. It is the capital of a province with the same name.

Reference: Catalog Yvert & Tellier: Stamps 339 to 3342

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