“Diversity creates emulation”
Larbi El Hilali is the director of 1337 in Morocco. Working for both OCP, 1337’s primary partner, and the school’s campuses, this “agitator” has the challenge of shaking up the traditional school system.
What does it mean to you to be the director of 1337 in Morocco?
My favorite part is the feeling of doing something useful with 1337. I met one of our students last week. When he came to campus at the age of 19, he was shy and withdrawn. Today, he is a mature, confident person who is working on a major research project at the university. 1337 is not just another educational project: it is a life-changing experience!
Do you have a favorite campus between 1337 Khouribga, 1337 Ben Guerir and 1337 Med?
I don’t have a favorite campus: I love them all! It’s true that I have a special affection for the first one: 1337 Khouribga. It was with this campus that we launched the project and that allowed us to really discover how the 42 pedagogy is applied. Each campus is now unique in the profiles it attracts, which is especially striking on the first day of Piscine. You don’t know anything about the young people who are going to be present for the selection: you finally get to see their faces. I like to go around the candidates and ask them from which city they come from. I discover about ten new towns: each time it is a trip all over Morocco and an indicator to know where to continue to develop and propose innovative programs.
What is in store for the world of education in the coming years?
My dearest wish would be to put an end to the glass ceiling of the grades we get at the baccalaureate! At the age of 18, we judge young people according to their results to classify them between those who have the right to follow a quality higher education and those who are not good enough. I would like us to get out of this selection system.
Especially since digital technology will continue to play an increasingly important role in education. When I visit clusters, I can see that some students watch videos from MIT or others watch very well explained tutorials from India. The future generation will have easier access to information, as long as it is not limited to certain countries in the world but to all.
What are the most important values at 42?
All the values of 42 are important and work in harmony. The most important thing I remember is that diversity brings happy surprises. Bringing together, as at 1337, 1,200 students from different parts of Morocco, who do not speak the same languages on a daily basis, but who manage to work together and innovate, is the strong point of 42’s methods. Diversity creates emulation!