Young Moroccans favouring English over French

Published 28/04/2021

English is set to become Morocco’s primary foreign language, a British Council report has suggested, finding that 74% of young Moroccans believe it will replace French in the next five years.

Findings from the Shift to English in Morocco report suggest that young Moroccans increasingly recognise English’s value and importance in today’s world.

Surveying more than 1,200 15 to 25-year olds in urban areas across Morocco, 40% of respondents said English was the most important language to learn, while 10% said the same of French.

Additionally, the country’s “Netflix Generation” has been provided with opportunities from Covid-19 to improve their language ability through online social interaction, movies, and educational platforms. Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Netflix among the most popular channels, the report found.

Some 85% of respondents said they expect the number of young Moroccans speaking English to increase in the next 10 years, with 57% expecting the number to increase greatly.

“The main reasons Moroccan young people expect English to become more widely spoken are that it is seen as the language of the future, as an international language, and as positive for one’s career,” the paper explained.

“This survey highlights a clear recognition among next generation Moroccans of the growing importance of English as a global language”

Over seven in 10 (74%) of respondents agreed that the country should adopt English instead of French as its primary second language.

“Such a move, respondents believe, will enhance tourism to Morocco, enhance the country’s status as a business hub and gateway to Africa, and strengthen its profile as a research and innovation hub,” it added.

Respondents also suggested that a stronger focus on English would enable them to “access high-quality educational opportunities, obtain better jobs both locally and internationally, and earn higher salaries”, the survey suggested.

“Morocco is a country with a rich, diverse multilingual culture and history,” Tony Reilly, director British Council Morocco, said.

“This should not and will not change. Multilingualism in an increasingly interconnected world is a huge asset. What this survey highlights, however, is a clear recognition among next generation Moroccans of the growing importance of English as a global language.”

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