Distance Learning as a Safe Haven During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Prospects for Post Pandemic: The Case of Moroccan and Mexican School and University Teachers

Distance Learning as a Safe Haven During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Prospects for Post Pandemic: The Case of Moroccan and Mexican School and University Teachers

Malika Haoucha, Nora Margarita Basurto-Santos, Youssef Nadri, Hamid Nechad
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9297-7.ch007
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The abrupt spread of COVID-19 has resulted in a global pandemic that has claimed millions of lives so far. This unprecedented health emergency has taken a toll on the economy of millions of individuals and families worldwide. The pandemic has also impacted the educational systems of many countries as it forced educational institutions to change their teaching and learning strategies. This chapter aims to provide an answer to four main research questions: the issues Moroccan and Mexican teachers faced in resorting to distance learning, what coping strategies teachers used in both countries, what policies and procedures were implemented in distance learning by the Moroccan and the Mexican governments, and finally, if there were any infrastructure issues reported in both countries with regard to the adoption of distance learning during the outbreak of the pandemic and the future prospects for the post-pandemic. The answers to these questions were sought by using both quantitative and qualitative data collected from teachers of whom 150 were Moroccan and 196 were Mexican.
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7.1 Introduction

In many countries, governments had tried to take some measures to alleviate the heavy social and economic impacts that the pandemic has had on vulnerable citizens. In Morocco, following the high instructions of His Majesty the King, a Special Purpose Account entitled “Special Fund for the Management of the Coronavirus Pandemic Covid-19” was created. Endowed with 10 billion dirhams, this fund is reserved, on the one hand, to cover the expenses of upgrading of the medical device, in terms of adapted infrastructure and additional means to acquire, in the urgency. It also serves to support the national economy, through a series of measures that are proposed by the Economic Monitoring Committee, in particular in terms of supporting sectors vulnerable to the shocks induced by the Coronavirus crisis, as well as preserving jobs and mitigating the social impact of this crisis (Ministry of Economy, Finance and administration Reform, 2021). In addition to the envelope of 10 billion MAD that will be mobilized by the general budget of the State, this Special Allocation Account is open to all contributions from individuals and companies.

In order to help children coming from low income families continue their distance learning, the Moroccan Ministry of education and regional authorities provided students with tablets. For example, the Assa-Zag Provincial Council handed over more than 1,000 tablets to students to facilitate their access to “distance education”, as part of its contribution to the implementation of precautionary and preventive measures taken to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In Mexico, on September 8th, 2020 the Mexican President presented to the Mexican Congress the 2021 economic legislative package; which is expected to carry out the investment of public resources on social programs as well as infrastructure projects, including education and health services (KPMG, 2020). However, it has been highlighted that like the impact of the pandemic on health, the impact on education will be mediated by how human beings respond, by the actions or omissions of students, parents, teachers, and school and system leaders before and during the pandemic. Some responses are more likely to mitigate the educational impact, while others will increase the negative impact of the pandemic on all levels of education in a country where there still exists a huge gap, concerning the technological and all kind of teaching and learning resources, between the private and the public education sectors (Reimers, 2021).

This chapter presents the results obtained from two studies carried out in Mexico and Morocco concerning the challenges that university teachers had to face since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 and the second year of 2021. The aim is to find out how teachers were coping with their lessons during the Covid-19 and what challenges they had encountered. Besides, the study also sought to examine whether teachers in both countries were facing similar or different challenges and if so, what these were. Participants in both countries provided us with quantitative and qualitative data. In Mexico there were 196 participants who teach EFL in all levels of education ranging from pre-school up to university level. These participants come from schools in most of the States in the Mexican territory. As for Morocco, the study included 150 university teachers from faculties of regulated and open access. The subjects taught include, but are not limited to, management, economics, finance, law, French, English, etc. The data obtained revealed that there are some problems which are common to both educational Moroccan and Mexican contexts in terms of governments’ policies and procedures; the infrastructure issues; the teachers’ coping strategies in dealing with the digital devices available to them and the challenges in both educational contexts. There are also points of differences that the analysis of the data has revealed, and these will be dealt with in detail in the present chapter.

The guiding research questions for this study are the following:

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