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Focus on Morocco | Educational Attainment and Career Aspirations Topic Brief

This topic brief presents the main findings on educational attainment and aspirations from the SWMENA survey1 in Morocco, a survey of 2,500 women and men 18 and older, fielded in 2010.

Educational attainment in Morocco is low: nearly half of women and more than two in ten men have no formal schooling (Figure 1). Ninety-one percent of women and 86% of men report that they have less than a secondary-level education. A very low rate of formal schooling among women limits their ability to pursue careers, contribute economically to families, or to be self-sufficient if they so desire. Women without a formal education may lack basic literacy and math skills, which leaves women vulnerable to economic insecurity and limits their power in the workplace and at home.

Among women, educational attainment varies substantially by age, region, and by primary language spoken:

  • Education rates do appear to be moving in the right direction: 87% of women 65 or older have no formal education, compared to only 16% of women 18 to 24. Among women in the younger age group, 14% have at least a secondary degree, while none of the 179 women 65 and older interviewed does.
  • As shown in Figure 2, women living in rural areas are much less likely to receive formal schooling than urban-dwelling women. Sixty-five percent of women in urban areas receive some formal schooling, compared to only 35% of women in rural areas. Five percent of women in urban areas have a postsecondary degree, compared to fewer than 1% of women in rural areas.
  • Only in North (Fes-Boulmane and Taza-Al Hoceima) and Central Morocco (Chaouia-Ouardigha, Grand Casablanca, and Tadla-Azilal) do a majority of women have at least some formal education. North Moroccan women are the most highly educated: 8% have a secondary degree, and 6% have a postsecondary degree, compared to fewer than 3% in all other regions.
  • Arabic- or French-speaking women are more likely to be formally educated than their Amazigh-speaking counterparts. 54% of Arabic- or French-speaking women have at least some formal education, and 43% of Amazigh-speaking women can say the same.


From December 2009 through January 2010, the SWMENA survey was disseminated to 2,000 women and 500 men in Morocco.  The survey is designed to assess how women in Morocco view themselves as members of society, the economy and the polity.

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