- Azul La Luz, PhD., CCHt,
Curriculum Specialist, High Atlas Foundation
It happened again! Except this time it was twice as great and full of even more excitement than the last time. The second large MEPI training of students took place in the auditorium of the University of Hassan II in Mohammadia. This time while the staff (Malika Kassi, Alex Stein, and W. Azul La Luz) of HAF observed and supervised from the sidelines, the HAF Interns (HAFI) interns conducted the entire training by themselves. The primary object of this training was to have each individual group/table of students (of which there were nine tables), go through a set of exercises leading to a joint decision on possible projects.
This time there was no timidity on their part. Each explained what their part in the training was, and how the training was to proceed. As they were about to proceed with the training, from the back of the room, came a plea to speak. A young women, Hayat Barakate, a Masters student from El Jadida, stepped up from one of the women’s tables, took the microphone and gave an impassioned plea to her fellow students to please take these matters here seriously, that what came out of these training would be important for the University, for Mohammadia, and eventually for all of Morocco! She went on to say that if HAF were ever interested that she as an elected official of El Jadida would be more than willing to entertain this type of training in El Jadida. There was a rousing round of applause from all the students present. And with that the training began.
As with the first training, first a few students had trickled in at the appointed hour, noon, but the room was not completely full of students until well after 12:40 or so. I commented to Anis Alfalo, the president of the Associacion des Jeunes Photographes Morocains (Moroccan Youth Photographers Association), who had agreed to photograph the event gratis, that I use to encounter the same phenomena in Mexico when I was studying there. Events often started sometime after the designated time. He concurred that in Morocco, it was common for people to arrive a bit after the designated time even for very official events. I was just ecstatic that most of the students that came this time where students from the past training sessions. There were a few new faces, but by and large, as we all greeted each other with handshakes and touching our hands to our hearts, some kissing each other’s cheeks as they greeted.
Altogether, we had nine tables with 55 students in attendance. The nine tables were pre-designated to have six students each and as one of three groups – all females, all males, or mixed females and males. As with many events, there were more men than women, but we still had two tables of women, four of all males, three mixed.
The group’s first exercise was dream-mapping, the second listing of assets and gaps, and the third community mapping. Next each group did a pair-wise project ranking. Once that was finished, a Pair-wise chart was created consisting of the top items from each group. The nine projects selected were: Transparency and liberty of expression, Campus, Medical Center, over-crowding, Change University System, Electronic Library, Transportation, Absence of good governance, Professor Competency.
Next the pair-wise exercise was conducted with all groups voting per item. The top three projects selected by the entire body of students were 1) Professor Competency, 2) Change of University System, and 3) University Campus. Even as the interactive process defines further these issues, they still require further definition in order to effectively plan and organize to address them.
Evaluations were then distributed. We provided some food items – sandwiches, yogurt, fruit, French fries, and beverages. All agreed that the next training would be at 11:30 on Wednesday, 2/1/2013.