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Spanish Education in Morocco, 1912–1956

Cultural Interactions in a Colonial Context

In the Series
Studies in Spanish History

Irene González González is a researcher with the Grupo de Estudios sobre Sociedades Árabes y Musulmanas at the University of Castilla-la Mancha (Spain) and associate researcher with the Institut de Recherches et d’Études sur le Monde Arabe et Musulman in Aix-en-Provence (France). Her published work covers education and cultural policy in Spanish Morocco and Spanish cultural policy towards the Arab Word.

After establishing the Spanish Protectorate in Northern Morocco (1912–1956), Spain needed to create a system of colonial policies for the territory it was now to govern. Education became one instrument among many at the service of colonization. Spain created its own colonial educational model based on Spanish schools, Spanish-Arab schools and Spanish-Jewish schools, which coexisted with Koranic madrasas and Talmudic, Alliance Israélite Universelle and nationalist schools. The institutions created for Moroccans by the Spaniards united tradition –the Arabic and Hebrew languages and Muslim and Jewish religions– with the models and principles of the schools in Spain at the time. The end goal was to instruct the population according to a pro-Spanish, colonizer-friendly ideology in order to control the society and territory in a way that complemented military policies.

The coup d’état led by General Franco in Spain in 1936 brought about a change in policy in the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco. The Franco government’s innovation was to Moroccanize the teaching paradigm, which transformed the Spanish-Arab educational model into a Moroccan model. The Spanish-Arab concept gave way to a Moroccan concept, which entailed the recognition of a national identity based on linguistic and religious precepts on the part of Spain. This process of Moroccanization did not develop under the same terms in other parts of the country, which gave the Spanish Protectorate its distinctive traits. Spain developed a policy that combined educational and cultural aspects through a discourse of Spanish-Arab brotherhood. The establishment of cultural institutions was a sign of this symbiosis and the policy became an important part of how the regime presented itself abroad.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-687-5
Hardback Price: £60.00 / $74.95
Release Date: April/May 2015
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-736-0
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: May 2015
Page Extent / Format: 000 pp. / 000 x 000 mm
Illustrated: No


Note on Transliteration


Chapter 1: Education in Pre-Colonial Morocco
• Traditional Education in Pre-Colonial Morocco
• The European Missionary Schools: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the Franciscan Friars
• The Beginning of Colonial Educational Policy in Morocco

Chapter 2: Defining an Educational Policy in Spanish Morocco
• An Intervention Proposal for Muslim Education
• Colonial Educational Organization
• Inspecting the Schools

Chapter 3: The Colonial Educational Model I: Spanish-Arab Schools and Spanish-Jewish Schools
• Defining an Educational Model: Spanish-Arab Schools
• The Process of Creating Spanish-Arab Schools
• Problems with the Spanish-Arab Education Model
• Spanish-Jewish Schools

Chapter 4: The Colonial Educational Model II: Spanish Schools
• The Spanish School Network
• Improvements in Education, Schooling and Buildings
• Spanish Schools in the Protectorate’s Most Important Cities

Chapter 5: Nationalist Education and the Response to Colonial Policies
• The Role of Schools in Creating the Nationalist Ideology
• Opening Nationalist Schools in Spanish Morocco

Chapter 6: Interventionism in Muslim Education
• Unsuccessful Attempts at Intervention in Muslim Education
• The Supreme Council on Islamic Education and the Beginning of Successful Spanish Intervention in Muslim Education
• Muslim Education from Intervention to Spanish Dependence

Chapter 7: The Moroccanization of Education and the Discourse on Spanish-Arab Brotherhood
• The Moroccanization of Education
• The Development of Secondary Schooling and the Creation of Textbooks
• The Discourse on Spanish-Arab Brotherhood


• Chronology
• Transcription of Institutions and Place Names


Reviewed in Revista Universitaria de Historia Militar, at:

Spanish Education in Morocco, 1912–1956, is the first research-led study on the educational policies of the Spanish Protectorate in Morocco that is written in English. This book presents the cultural tensions, imperial turmoil, and political conflicts of that region and period, focusing on the role that educational institutions played in Spanish colonial action amidst this backdrop. It shows how the early years of the Protectorate resulted in defining education policies in Morocco and how the principles of respect and non-intervention in issues fundamental to the colonizers were followed — at least, in the beginning.

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