Mourad EL HANAFI
Ouled Teima, July 17, 2018
Upon the release of make-up baccalaureate exam results, Lahcen Chakiri, 69, the oldest candidate in Morocco, has secured his place in education history, finally passing his baccalaureate, Arts stream, with a score of 11.29/20, after missing the normal session of the 2018 Moroccan national baccalaureate exams.
Wearing very traditional clothes, a turban and Djellaba, you could make the mistake of thinking that he is illiterate, but Lahcen took up the challenge to refute all our demeaning perspectives towards people like him. The septuagenarian didn’t acquiesce to the way his fellow locals and generation perceive life. Mr. Chakiri believed he still had the right to reconnect with his dreams and jump-start his personal transformation, and so, overwhelmed with passion and determination, he gave himself a break and massively nailed it!
For three consecutive days, Lahcen sat for the national baccalaureate exams in the June session as an unofficial candidate. During this time his family, along with many people all over the country, were wholeheartedly rooting for him. Unfortunately, his name didn’t make it to the list of students who succeeded. Yet, Mr. Chakiri’s perseverance didn’t dwindle nor fizzle out. With “the help and support of teachers from Ibn Tachfin, Boumalne Dades and Abdelkerim El Khattabi High Schools, he multiplied his efforts to get [BAC in the bag!]” mentioned in the official Facebook page of Tinghir provincial directorate.
It is worth noting that Lahcen is a retired, solid septuagenarian who tried his hand at different jobs. He had first worked as a miner before he emigrated to France where he worked as a mechanic. He is from Msemrir, a purely Amazigh mountainous town in the High Atlas in Tinghir, 164 away from Ouarzazate.
“I attended my primary school in Aman n’ Iqidar, then went to high school in Boumalne Dades, but I had to drop out of school [in 1967] because my family was with very limited resources then,” Lahcen opened up in a televised report conducted by Tamazight, Moroccan Channel 8. Though it was a long procedure to apply for baccalaureate, Mr. Chakiri painstakingly worked his way around to get it. “I consulted the headteacher [of Boumalne Dades High School] about what it takes to be a baccalaureate holder and told me that I had to get middle school completion certificate first, and I went straightforward for it,” added the same report.
Giving a very strong, inspirational message to people in general and to today’s youth in particular, Mr. Chakiri told the local press in a report by Tinghir Press 24, “I do advise you to be careful of your studies. One’s worth does emanate from their good education – and not from juvenile delinquency or taking drugs! Education comes first; without it, nothing is going to be achieved.” He added, “I am a septuagenarian, but I will continue to study until the last breath.”
Mr. Chakiri has grabbed considerable attention on social media and received a spectrum of national praise and congratulatory messages for being the epitome of determination and diligence.
For its part, Tisrsal Association for Cooperation and Sustainable Development in Msemrir Commune has decided to set up a centre for educational excellence, and honour Mr. Lacen Chakiri by assigning him as its president, according to LeMgoune. The centre in question will aim to combat the problem of young people dropping out of school, encouraging rural girls to pursue their studies, as well as supporting excellence in students, according to the same website.