PROFESSIONAL SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND CONTINUING EDUCATION IN MOROCCO
The dynamics of globalization and free trade agreements in Morocco have undoubtedly been a forward moving catalyst in recent discussions about the importance of continuing education and professional development in the country. Most recently, the latter has been established as a national priority demanding that Morocco revisit the purposes of its training system and implements several initiatives and mechanisms (Hassi, 2011). In this respect, one of the most important pieces of legislation in the Moroccan continuing education context is the Vocational Training Levy that compels private and public organizations subject to the National Social Security Fund to contribute 1.6% of their total aggregated monthly payroll towards professional training. Along with the obligatory tax, there are two important and complementary institutional mechanisms that promote employee training and development in Morocco. Organizations can resort to one of these mechanisms or to both simultaneously. Intersectoral Advice Associations (Groupements interprofessionnels d’aide au conseil, GIAC) exist across industries to promote the importance of employee training and to provide companies with technical and financial assistance during the phases of training needs analysis and with the preparation of proposals for submission. The system of Special Training Contracts (Contrats spéciaux de formation, CSF) financially supports private companies subject to the training tax in developing and implementing professional training programs. Despite these tools and mechanisms, continuing education in Morocco faces several challenges (Hassi, 2012). We are still distant from establishing training structures and practices within organizations, and far from developing a long term sustainable human capital, mainly due to the current existing institutional support which is based on sector analysis and immediate organizational needs. In this regard, only 20% of the training funding scheme is utilized by 3% of formal sector companies, which are unequally distributed in terms of a firm’s size, industries and regions (OFPPT, 2002) with the majority of them located on the industrialized Casablanca-Rabat-Tangiers axis. In addition, employees working for small and medium-sized enterprises, which constitute 93% of companies operating in Morocco, do not adequately benefit from training and professional development initiatives. In light of the above, recommendations are made in order to assist with establishing continuing education practices within Moroccan organizations.