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Access to pre-primary education

Jul 13,2017 - Last updated at Jul 13,2017

The Ministry of Education and UNICEF are embarking on an ambitious eight-year plan (2017-2025) to “universalise access” to pre-primary education in the country with a budget of $198 million.

According to UNICEF Jordan, close to 59 per cent of the estimated 153,000 five-year-old children in the Kingdom are already attending kindergarten (KG2), but “significant disparities” persist between geographic regions and
socioeconomic groups. 

This issue must be addressed to make pre-schooling uniform across the country and among all children.

Minister of Education Omar Razzaz said on this occasion that his ministry is keen on investing in early education and expanding it with a view to making it compulsory in public schools.

Middle and upper class families all send their children to private preschools. It is families that are not as well-off who need support to send their children to early education.

The Syrian refugee crisis dimension complicates the matter further, with 125,000 Syrian refugee children enrolled in Jordanian public schools, many of which are forced to operate on a double-shift system to cope with the pressure.

Since the refugee crisis will continue well into the foreseeable future, Syrian children, some of whom have been born in Jordan, will also need to attend preschool in the Kingdom.

Commenting on the initiative, Razzaz said that “universalising access to early childhood education is fundamental to achieving the National Human Resources Development Strategy”. 

It is also, one may add, about fulfilling a basic human right — education.

Work will now be directed to providing the necessary infrastructures for such kindergartens, ensuring that they are child-friendly and recruiting the right kind of teachers who are well versed in early education.

These teachers would be carrying a huge responsibility, since they will help shape the minds and spirits of young children to push them in the right direction at an early age.

 

That is why teachers must be carefully chosen.

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