Skip to Content

French children playing during break at Ernest Renan Primary School, Casablanca, Morocco. Facebook

‘Who are the great apes?’ French school in Morocco stirs up controversy

Confusion, anger, incomprehension… The parents of students at the French primary school Ernest Renan in Morocco were somewhat taken aback. On Thursday March 25, their children received a peculiar science exercise.

Published: March 31, 2021, 5:29 am

    Read more

    The Ernest Renan school in Casablanca, which is part of the network of the French mission in Morocco, has been at the heart of the scandal. In question, is an “educational” exercise which aroused unanimous condemnation. The question “Who are the great apes?” was asked as part of a natural science class to CM2 students (10-11 years old), and for their answer they were asked to link illustrations with their name and then with their natural habitat. But the details are staggering. Alongside a gorilla, an orangutan, a bonobo and a chimpanzee, a sub-Saharan woman was among the illustrations included.

    Revolted by the content considered both racist and misogynist in this exercise, the parents of young schoolchildren quickly sounded the alarm. They do not understand how such a question could arise in a supposedly educational setting.

    Shared profusely on social networks in the space of a few hours, the strange “lesson” triggered a huge wave of indignation which continues to stir up emotions. Association activists, parents and teachers denounced the racism and sexism that persist in the country, especially through the school content taught to children.

    The Parity and Diversity committee of 2M, the second Moroccan television channel, denounced the “indecency” and an “unacceptable attack on human dignity”.

    In the afternoon of Thursday, March 25, the director of the establishment, Sébastian Galard, reacted to the controversy by sending an email to the parents concerned. He mentioned “an exercise that could rightly shock”. He described it “as an inadmissible blunder which can refer to amalgamations completely contrary to the values” that the school claims to defend. The director concluded his email with an apology on behalf of the school and its teachers. Except that he only added fuel to the fire.

    By republishing his email, several Internet users denounced his insincere apology, a “euphemism” which in no way compensates for the racism and misogyny of the exercise.

    Later that evening, another email appeared which was immediately widely shared. This time, the message received by the parents came from Paris. It was signed by the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE), a network which manages 540 French establishments abroad including the Ernest Renan School in Morocco. In an attempt to extinguish the flames of anger and controversy, the tone was much firmer.

    The email evoked the “consternation” of the AEFE in view of the racist and sexist content. The AEFE then announced that it had decided to “open an administrative investigation” after this “serious fault”. It insisted on continuing the transmission of “republican values ​​in French education abroad, foremost among which is equality and the fight against all forms of racism”. As soon as it was received by the parents, the AEFE message was quickly published by the primary school concerned on its website.

    Within the Association of Parents of French Education Abroad (APEEF), the reaction was mixed:

    “Regarding the pedagogical incident which took place at the Ernest Renan School, we recognize that the director and the AEFE had a rapid and effective reaction which we welcome”, they commented in a press release. “We will avoid further controversy and will follow the AEFE investigation and the corrective actions that will have to be taken,” they added.

    Since the outbreak of this affair, the accused teacher has been laid off pending the conclusions of the administrative investigation opened by the AEFE. The penalties can range from temporary suspension to retirement or dismissal of the faculty, Russian news outlet Sputnik learned from sources familiar with the matter.

    In the meantime, the source of the controversial exercise has been traced, showing that it was taken from the French platform “La main à la Pâte” for science education. Created in 2011 by the École nationale supérieure (ENS) and the Academy of Sciences, this foundation provides teachers, in France and elsewhere, with educational tools for their science courses. This exercise was reportedly submitted by a black teaching assistant in Gabon.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.

    • de Hauteville

      Here in the US we are having our own problems with the “Great Apes” in most large inner cities!

    • oma koto

      Blacks are infecting Europe every day.
      And leftists support it.


    Cameroon celebrates herbal medicine miracle against Covid-19

    JaundeThe western African country of Cameroon is one of the nations with the fewest victims in the pandemic: Only 100 000 infected and 1 600 deaths were counted among its 27 million inhabitants. That means that the incidence rate is 50 times lower than in European countries.

    New Covid Omicron ‘variant’ first detected in fully vaccinated individuals

    PretoriaThe EU as well as the US, UK and Canada will ban travel from South Africa and seven other southern African countries after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a new variant called Omicron to be "of concern". But South African Health Minister Dr Joseph Phaahla said these “draconian” decisions did not make any scientific sense.

    South Africa plunged into darkness by rampant theft at power utility

    JohannesburgTwo black ESKOM employees and their accomplices contracted by the South African power utility, were arrested last week and charged with fraud, theft and corruption in connection with hundreds of millions worth of goods that were stolen. The goods and services paid for by the power utility were not delivered nor rendered at the country's Tutuka Power Station.

    Gambia refuses to take back deported migrants

    BanjulThe government of the West African mini-state Gambia is not even considering taking back its own citizens in the course of repatriations. Their argument is that this would lead to “social unrest”.

    A comparison of the Taliban and South Africa’s armies

    KabulIn the cockpit of one of the four Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft that the Taliban now have in their new air force, the victor looked particularly pleased. Why were these planes not flown out before they fell into the hands of the Taliban? Photos of the evacuation show how cables have been cut off and instrumentation partially broken, indicating that they were forced to abandon them at very short notice.

    British Medical Journal: ‘Why have so many African leaders died of Covid-19?’

    TeneneriveBeing an African leader in a Covid pandemic has been perilous since they die “seven times above estimates of the world’s average for a demographic profile of similar sex and age average for the same period,” according to a British study.

    The biggest riots in 100 years in South Africa

    JohannesburgDuring the week of 11 to 17 July 2021, South African experienced devastating riots, looting and violence during which more than 200 people lost their lives and R100 billion (about €6 billion) of damage was done to businesses and general infrastructure.

    Coincidence? Three presidents dead after blocking distribution of Covid vaccines

    The leaders of three different countries died after having stopped the distribution of the experimental Covid-19 jabs. All three countries took the decision to distribute the vaccines to their citizens only after their leaders passed away.

    South African Minister of Police complains about curious discovery of ammunition

    Richards BayThe South African Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, claims to have "discovered" thousands of rounds of ammunition just lying in the street. This unlikely scenario of abandoned ammunition amidst the ongoing plundering of the country, is designed to justify the upcoming Firearm Amendment Bill which will end citizen's right to self defense.

    South Africa: Whites abandon their homes as mobs spread mayhem

    DurbanDurban is the third most populous city in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town and the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Zulus, the largest black tribe in the country, form the largest single ethnic group in the city too. FreeWestMedia has received reports of residents in areas hardest hit by ongoing riots, abandoning their homes. What may have started as a political protest has descended into anarchy.

    Go to archive