Inequalities in Morocco: What Freedom for Young People to Choose a Life One Has Good Reasons to Value ?

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
CLM.4.02 (Clement House)
Vanessa di Paola, Aix-Marseille University, Lest, Marseille, France
Mehdi Khouaja, LEST, Marseille, France
Stephanie Moullet, Aix-Marseille University, Lest, Marseille, France
Noémie Olympio, Institute of Labour Economics and Industrial Sociology (LEST-CNRS), Aix, France
Gwendoline Promsopha, LEST, Marseille, France
By this sentence “Equality of what?” the Nobel Prize Amartya Sen reminds us that the issue of equality is a very normative one. Indeed, there are different ways to understand the idea of equality: equality of welfare, equality of results or equality of resources for instance. Sen opt for the equality of capabilities. Equality of capabilities represents equality in the freedom to choose between different lifestyles. Thus it is accepted in this approach that a society may have inequalities of outcomes, provided that there has been equality of capabilities and that an individual’s lifestyle has been freely chosen. Choice becomes essential, since it makes an individual responsible. In this theory, in other words, the fact that an individual has no qualifications will not be regarded as an unjust situation in itself; what will be unjust is that the individual in question has had no other choice but to be in that situation.

Sen’s capabilities theory is a particularly stimulating and innovative analytical framework from the point of view of social justice, since it is concerned with the substantive opportunities open to individuals over the course of their lives. According to Sen, the inequalities to be taken into account are not just those caused by a lack of resources or means but also those engendered by a lack of options, possibilities or substantive opportunities. Thus, in this paper we analyse inequalities in the Moroccan context for young people by considering freedom of choice in education.

 Our aim is to go beyond the school dropout phenomenon itself in order to analyse what is young people’s room for manoeuvre in their educational path. We pay particular attention to two dimensions: an objective dimension to understand available options to stay in education; and a more subjective one to take into account “the life they have reasons to value”. We thus consider young people’s aspirations.

Moreover inequalities are analysed by focusing on a gender effect. We look at the difference of schooling opportunities between boys and girls, and its variations among a set of socio-economic factors. We also focus on potential variations in the nature of schooling aspirations. Finally, we analyse how aspirations and opportunities work together to shape gender inequalities in Moroccan educational trajectories.

Our work is based on brand-new and innovative data : the OCEMO data (Office of Economic Cooperation for Mediterranean and Middle East) which is the first regional data on young people in Morocco. These data deals with young people expectations and their perceptions of the society in which they live.