Many of the poorest regions in the country--particularly the Middle Atlas region--are predominantly Amazigh with illiteracy as high as 80 percent. Basic governmental services in this mountainous and underdeveloped region were not extensive.
Official languages are Arabic and--with the new constitution--Amazigh. Arabic predominates, but French and Amazigh were available in the news media and, to a much lesser extent, educational institutions.
Approximately 60 percent of the population, including the royal family, claimed some Amazigh heritage. Amazigh cultural groups contended that their traditions and language were being lost rapidly to Arabization. The government increasingly provided television programs in the three Amazigh dialects of Tarifit, Tashelhit, and Tamazight. The government also offered Amazigh language classes in the curriculum of 3,470 schools. Expanding Amazigh language education was hindered primarily by a lack of qualified teachers, which the palace-funded Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture was addressing through the creation of university-level teacher training. Instruction in learning the Amazigh language is mandatory for students at the Ministry of Interior School for Administrators in Kenitra.