Jobless Moroccan graduates threaten suicide

June 30, 2006

Desperate Moroccan graduates have threatened to commit suicide to force the Government to find them jobs in the public sector.

Groups representing the unemployed graduates talk of their "collective suffering" and say that "martyrdom" remains an option. They believe that the denial of their "right" to a job in the public sector makes them objects of contempt.

In December 2005, six unemployed graduates belonging to the radical Groupe des Detenteurs de Lettres Royales tried to burn themselves alive. None was seriously hurt but the public was horrified by pictures of the incident.

In the past, the Government attempted to solve the problem by offering jobs. But the more posts the then socialist Government, led by Abderrahmane Youssoufi, made available, the more fervent those still out of work became.

In 1991, the Government attempted to encourage the private sector to recruit graduates (at modest salaries) by offering tax breaks.

At nearly per cent, graduate unemployment in Morocco is well above the 11.8 per cent national average. The main cause is the wide gap between the programmes taught at university and the needs of local employers.

On an almost daily basis, the militants organise sit-ins in front of the parliament building in Rabat. "We simply want the Government to honour its commitments," they said, in reference to a written promise previously signed by the Ministry of Employment.

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