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Starting a school in Morocco
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Starting a school in Morocco Reply with quote

Hello,

How hard would it be to open an English language school in Morocco?

Thanks,
Becky
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medina



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see you're from the Bay area. How hard would it be there? Then add to that doing it all in a foreign language, working with a bureaucracy largely established along the lines of what the French had in the 1940s.

Another answer would be: easy---language schools are opened (by Moroccans) all the time. They generally seem to last about a year before going broke.

If you really have a lot of money to invest in something, I'd recommend doing it Stateside.
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for replying, Medina.

I asked the question because it seems that people have mostly negative things to say about the existing schools. Either the pay is bad, contracts aren't honored, work-conditions suck, etc. So I was wondering why one or more ESL/EFL teachers with experience in Morocco don't open a school.

So what would it take not only to open the school (which, as you pointed out is done all the time by Moroccans without success) and remain open and successful.

Thanks,
Becky
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 267
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Opening a school in Morocco??? That is a headache I would prefer to avoid!!! It took me one whole year to get my working visa, despite working for a top organisation in the field. Now imagine trying to get all the other paper through the authorities that you'll need to start a business!!!

I spent a fair amount of time working in Morocco, I did know a guy who was seeking to open a school in Tangiers, but after all the blagging and cheap talk nothing came out of it.

Casablanca and Rabat is saturated. The rest of Morocco??? There just aren't enough people with money to pay for English courses. Simple.
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medina



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TC has a point, and that's what I mean about the bureaucracy. But going back to your second posting--- my experience with TEFL internationally is that there's a whole lot of non-professionalism in the field, both on the part of schools and --- sorry to say --- on the part of teachers. There's the idea that, "when you come right down to it, any native speaker can teach English" (what do you, Teslwannabe, think of this notion?) and secondly, that the people who are teaching --- from backpackers on up--- are not really in such and such a place to teach English anyway---they’re there “for the experience,” or to meet someone, or “to spread God’s word”, or “spread democracy”, or, or, or…so why deal with them as serious professionals?

Secondly, about Morocco in particular: I certainly don't think there's a bigger percentage of disreputable language schools here than, say, in Korea or even Japan, China, Poland…. I also think that if someone has such-an-such opinion of someone in charge of one of these schools (see the posting about AUI, for example), that still doesn’t mean that’s a bad place to work. Let's face it, whatever field you're in, you're going to run into people in authority that you don't like, don't agree with, people who you think are petty, incompetent, even vicious. If someone wants to avoid this totally, she or he needs to get a job "away" from people... watch repair, maybe, or working in a national park fire look-out station :- ).

According to what I've heard from people and experienced, Moroccan TEFL schools with generally good names (although maybe not the kind of salaries you can make in Dubai) remain (according to size of operation): the 10 ALCs, the British Council, Amideast in Rabat, BEPEC in Casa, and maybe English First (also Casa), and, on the university level, AUI. (I don't know enough about Proformation (?) in Rabat to comment, and if anyone else can add to this list, please do.) That's about 15 places, which is a pretty good number for a country the size of Morocco and with Morocco's economy.

I'm not saying you're necessarily going to like the people running these places, only that they are run reputably, with contracts or agreements they honor.
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TwinCentre wrote:
Casablanca and Rabat is saturated. The rest of Morocco??? There just aren't enough people with money to pay for English courses. Simple.


Hello TwinCentre,

Thanks for replying. What about Tangier, Tetuan, El Jadida, Agadir, Mohammedia, Marakesh, Fez? Not enough money in those cities?

Thanks,
Becky
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again, Medina, for your informative reply.

medina wrote:
There's the idea that, "when you come right down to it, any native speaker can teach English" (what do you, Teslwannabe, think of this notion?)


I disagree with that notion. Proper training is a must to be an effective teacher.

medina wrote:
and secondly, that the people who are teaching --- from backpackers on up--- are not really in such and such a place to teach English anyway---they’re there “for the experience,” or to meet someone, or “to spread God’s word”, or “spread democracy”, or, or, or…so why deal with them as serious professionals?


I am sure that there is quite a lot of backpackers/tourists wannabe teachers. Yeah, it must make it harder on the professionals.

medina wrote:
Secondly, about Morocco in particular: I certainly don't think there's a bigger percentage of disreputable language schools here than, say, in Korea or even Japan, China, Poland…. I also think that if someone has such-an-such opinion of someone in charge of one of these schools (see the posting about AUI, for example), that still doesn’t mean that’s a bad place to work.

According to what I've heard from people and experienced, Moroccan TEFL schools with generally good names (although maybe not the kind of salaries you can make in Dubai) remain (according to size of operation): the 10 ALCs, the British Council, Amideast in Rabat, BEPEC in Casa, and maybe English First (also Casa), and, on the university level, AUI. (I don't know enough about Proformation (?) in Rabat to comment, and if anyone else can add to this list, please do.) That's about 15 places, which is a pretty good number for a country the size of Morocco and with Morocco's economy.


That's good to hear.

So, if you were to open a school in Morocco assuming few obstacles, where would you open it?

Thanks,
Becky
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medina



Joined: 04 Jun 2005
Posts: 64
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You asked: What about Tangier, Tetuan, El Jadida, Agadir, Mohammedia, Marakesh, Fez?

All those cities except El Jadida already have an ALC and a handful of other smaller schools already competing for a limited market.

El Jadida, last I heard, had something called the "American Language School" or something like that, another little private school that you probably wouldn't want to work for. Essaouira would be a great place to live, there's probably demand for English, but there's probably not enough money to support a good quality school.

So---where would I open a school? Maybe San Jose? Smile
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2007 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

medina wrote:
So---where would I open a school? Maybe San Jose? Smile


I think you'd do better in San Francisco. Laughing

-Becky
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 267
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know, even if one did manage to set up a profitable language school in Morocco, where would you get the teachers from? The turn-over rate in Morocco is high, people often don't wanna stay, let alone come in the first place!

I wouldn't wanna try it.

In fact, if you are really into the idea of serving Morocco with a language school, then why not set up an Online English School for Moroccans, with a Moroccan domain, and a website in French? That would work, not many people have computers there, but Moroccans love to use internet cafes, in fact they are pretty hot on the social scene. You wouldn't get paid mind, as most people cannot take money outside so they don't have international credit cards, but it would be providing something that would help a whole lotta people. If you wanna set up a real school, I'll tell you a country which isn't quite yet saturated, with less redtape, and a whole lot easier to set up a business in................................................................................................................................................................................................................................Portugal.
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello TwinCentre,

TwinCentre wrote:
You know, even if one did manage to set up a profitable language school in Morocco, where would you get the teachers from? The turn-over rate in Morocco is high, people often don't wanna stay, let alone come in the first place!


Why do you say teachers don't want to stay or even come?

TwinCentre wrote:
If you wanna set up a real school, I'll tell you a country which isn't quite yet saturated, with less redtape, and a whole lot easier to set up a business in Portugal.


Have you taught in Portugal?

Thanks,
Becky
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 874
Location: :)

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is as about as wishy-washy as this discussion board gets. Wannabie, I’ll tell you all you wanna know.

Starting any business, let alone a school where you unfortunately have to employ fickle teachers, many of whom will be beating a path for their embassy/parents as soon as a baby c0ckroach crawls through their apartment, has gotta be the biggest drudge on the planet. I can’t imagine a more thankless task. What’s more, it’s all going to take a very very hard and focused person, not the sort who comes on here with half-baked questions to people who’ve never come near to opening their own school or running any sort of project or business.

And now someone comes on here and mentions Portugal, and what do you do? You ask them about it. Do you wanna set up in Morocco or Portugal? I quite fancy Indonesia myself. Have you considered that too? It’s so easy there. Or how about China where they’re screaming out for English schools. Or how about have you even set foot in Morocco or run a business before?
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teslwannabe



Joined: 11 Apr 2007
Posts: 12
Location: SF Bay Area, California

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hod wrote:
Or how about have you even set foot in Morocco or run a business before?


Hod, I usually don't respond to mean-spirited people, but I'll answer two of your questions. I've been to Morocco 6 times. I've never run a business before but I've worked for small businesses and start-ups, so I am aware of the difficulty in starting a business.

-Becky
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TwinCentre



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 267
Location: Mokotow

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, I've changed my mind, I've been too wishy washy...Don't open a school, it is a bad idea, you will have to deal with teachers who just don't wanna be there...also Morocco will cause you no end of problems red tape wise....Hod is right...to be honest
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Hod



Joined: 28 Apr 2003
Posts: 874
Location: :)

PostPosted: Sun Apr 22, 2007 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, mate. Apparently I'm mean spirited. Best to give her every encouragement in this venture. When she tells her bank manager she's consulted the finest experts TwinCentre and Medina on eslcafe, it'll all be sorted.
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