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Education should be a national priority

Sep 06,2016 - Last updated at Sep 06,2016

Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania launched Monday the 10-year National Strategy for the Development of Human Resources.

The Queen delivered the keynote speech, outlining the challenges and obstacles facing the education reform in Jordan and effectively calling for a speedy process to modernise education and take it to new heights of excellence.

Emphasising the importance of all stages of education, starting with early childhood, often overlooked in Jordan, pointing to the shortcomings in elementary and secondary education and dissecting the problems with teachers, 50 per cent of whom “chose this profession simply because it was the best or only available option to them”, the Queen touched on all dimensions of education, stressing the need for urgent changes if the country is to catch up with international standards and the demands of modern times.

Introducing IT, especially Internet, in all schools, without exception, should be a goal.

Important to quality education is quality teachers, and plans are in place to ensure that those who will teach our future generations are well prepared, academically and pedagogically.

“When we want, we can. That is why the most critical change we need is to break the mental moulds and age-old limitations that have made our education system stagnant, rigid and incapable of keeping pace with changing times and growing ambitions. The toughest obstacles can only be overcome when we free ourselves from the high walls we have built within us, obscuring our vision and dreams,” said the Queen.

It cannot be truer, so in order to effect change, the National Committee for Human Resources Development has articulated recommendations for educational reforms, if need be, by drawing on the experience of advanced nations.

There is no time to waste. While the National Strategy for the Development of Human Resources is expected to stir a national dialogue, among people in the field and outsiders, and spur ideas or proposals, that should not be the ultimate aim. Nor should such dialogue last forever, for time is in short supply when it comes to reforming education.

Sure, issues are many, besides the dire situation of the education system nowadays, and they will have to be boldly and candidly discussed: school dropouts because of economic conditions but also because of domestic violence, which hinders the healthy development of a child; reforming religious education, because without it education reforms could be seriously hampered; the school physical environment, bleak and often hostile in extreme weather; coeducation, starting with early stages of schooling, which can ensure healthy relations between boys and girls.

But after all the problems have been discussed, action has to be taken, and fast.

A revolution in education is an open-ended and holistic exercise, but for the sake of the future generations, of the country, indeed, this transformation has to be embarked upon without delay.

“Education reform must be a national priority and a popular demand today, tomorrow and ten years from now,” said the Queen.

 

Let it, then, be accorded the priority it needs, today.

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