In 1956, newly liberated Morocco had to develop a comprehensive education policy. First was the setting up of anti-analphabetism schools and second was the development of the 9-year basic education system. In 1959, the Ministry of National Education was established to begin the task of training a native teaching corps to replace foreign teachers, build new schools and implement governmental education reforms. Compulsory education is introduced in the early 1960s and, by 1985; enrollments of school-age children had reached 85% as compared to 17% at independence.
The education in Morocco, of which is a 9-year basic education program, starts at the age of 7. This basic education program is consisting of 5 years of primary school (K1-K5) followed by 4 years of primary secondary school (K6-K9). Following the primary secondary school is 3 years of general secondary or technical education (K10-K12) leading to the baccalaureate degree. Attendance rates are low especially among girls. Approximately 2.5 million children, mostly rural girls, do not attend school. Moroccan schools also have very poor retentive rates. Higher education is offered in 14 public universities, which had 290,000 enrolled students in 2002-2003, and 1 private university, an American-style, English-language institution with about 1,000 students.
In 2003, Morocco’s adult literacy rate was estimated at nearly 52%, 64.1% for males and 30.4% for females. Women illiteracy rate in rural areas are very high, between 75 and 83%.