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Schools to reopen on September 1, new semester to go as scheduled — Adaileh

‘Gov't was open to dialogue with teachers but they remained stubborn’

By Raed Omari - Aug 05,2020 - Last updated at Aug 05,2020

AMMAN — The government on Wednesday said that it was open to dialogue with teachers but they showed a "stubborn attitude, threatening even another nationwide strike by the beginning of the new scholastic year”.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Minister of State for Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh said: "They [teachers] were not really negotiating, offering some give-and-take. They were all the time stubborn and even threatening another strike.".

On July 25, Amman Attorney General Hassan Abdallat suspended the members of the Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) council, members of its central body, branches and administrations from service and ordered the closure of the syndicate and its branches for two years over criminal and corruption charges. 

Thirteen accused, all members of the JTA, were ordered detained for one week at a correctional and rehabilitation centre pending further investigation.

Schools in Jordan had faced a one-month suspension at the beginning of the 2019/2020 academic year, when teachers across the country started a month-long strike demanding pay rise.

The government had signed an agreement with the JTA under which teachers agreed to end their strike. But teachers again protested, claiming that the agreement's terms have not been realised.

However, Adaileh said on Wednesday that 15 provisions of the agreement have been realised with only two or three items remaining as they need some legal amendments.

Adaileh said that the 2020/2021 academic year will start on September 1, adding that the education ministry has plans to ensure a “smooth and undisruptive semester”. 

The minister also said that the government has “nothing to do with the JTA case”, which he described as "purely legal", adding that teachers can resort to the judiciary and contest rulings issued against them.

 

Parliamentary elections

 

When asked about whether the teachers' case would have any impact on the upcoming parliamentary elections, slated for November 10, Adaileh said: "No. The Independent Elections Commission (IEC) has plans to ensure a successful and smooth election."

 

The IEC announced that the general election will be held on November 10 upon a Royal Decree that directed the concerned agencies to hold parliamentary elections in accordance with the provisions of law.

Adaileh refuted local news reports claiming that the reopening of the Amman International Airport was postponed due to financial disputes between the government and the Airport International Group (AIG).

“That’s not true. The decision was made for purely health concerns, especially with coronavirus cases soaring again globally.”

Jordan was scheduled to reopen its airport to international flights from a number of countries classified as “low risk” on August 5 but the reopening was put off until further notice on Wednesday pending an improvement of the coronavirus pandemic situation worldwide.

“Why the AIG would object the reopening of the airport when it brings more revenues,” Adaileh said. 

Adaileh said that Jordan seeks to maintain its “success” in containing the coronavirus pandemic, especially with the country heading towards parliamentary elections.

“We have a constitutional requirement, the elections, and we do not want the pandemic situation to affect that,” he added.

Adaileh also said that parliamentary elections can be conducted even when the country is currently under the Defence Law which was installed under a Royal Decree on March 17 following the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Omar Razzaz had previously said that the Defence Law will remain active until the issues related to the COVID-19 crisis — public health and the economy — have been addressed.

 

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