Dr. Dahbi and Dr. Darhmaoui Contribute a Chapter to a Recent Book on the Social Responsibility of Universities During the Pandemic
Dr. Mohammed Dahbi, professor in the AUI School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and Dr. Hassane Darhmaoui, professor in the School of Science and Engineering, recently contributed a chapter, titled "University as State Agent or Social Actor: Al Akhawayn University and Social Responsibility", to a book, titled University and School Collaborations during a Pandemic: Sustaining Educational Opportunity and Reinventing Education, which was published open access by Springer. The book was edited by Fernando Reimers, from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and Francisco Marmolejo, from the Qatar Foundation Higher Education.
The chapter they contributed discusses the relations of cooperation between Al Akhawayn University and school education in Morocco. The chapter goes into detail on how several community service-based student clubs and organizations at AUI strive to help the local community, be it building schools, donating backpacks with school supplies, or developing curricula for primary education. They also discuss how the University provides for the families of the faculty members who work for them; how they have a joint k-12 private school that works independently of the Moroccan government, except on basic, required standards; how the Azrou Center helps adults and drop-out students obtain functional literacy, as well as how it organizes non-formal education programs for students who have dropped out of school for one reason or another.
Their chapter also discussed how these educational services were adapted during the pandemic, noting for example, that one of the programs the Azrou Center offers – a vocational skills-based program that teaches handicrafts, such as weaving, sewing, and gardening to underprivileged people – was unable to be conducted in person, nor online, as many of the students did not have computers or access to the internet, so they preferred to use WhatsApp for communication. For other classes, however, such as those offered by Al Akhawayn University to its students, were conducted via software such as Microsoft Teams, or the professors recorded lectures and edited the videos using software such as Adobe. The authors also mention that the Arabic Language Union, a unit under the AUI School of Humanities and Social Sciences, is coordinating a child storybook-production contest to promote the value of reading and literacy. Finally, they discuss AUI's collaboration with the Moroccan Ministry of Education's PING Project, which aims to equalize Moroccan's access to digital technology in the public education sector.