With Respect, This Is Not What Is Needed

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Wed 24 August / Aug 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

The report on changes by the Ministry of Education on secondary school books published in “Al Ghad”’s Wednesday issue, describes these changes as “fundamentally” addressing religious coexistence as well as Jordan’s history and the relationship between Muslims and Christians in the Country.

Clearly, we need to thoroughly inspect these changes. What “Al Ghad” pointed out as examples of these changes included on the mentioning of the Christian demographic in Jordan, with a picture of a Mosque and Church next to each other. Evidently, these changes barely scratch the surface; they are mere secondary formalities, at best. And while they are not bad, in fact they are alright, but this is not what is needed talking about the battle for curriculum, nor is it what we mean by demanding an evolutionary structural development of our curriculum, to drive a major qualitative transformation in our education system!

By that, we mean the mind-set; the very thinking process of students that needs to be addressed, that they become more accepting of variation in opinion and capable of accepting the other, to begin with, and believe in all kinds of plurality. To cultivate debate and conversation as an instrument of resolving disputes and dealing with others. That they may learn to interpret religion constructively in a way that serves the building of productive positive citizenry that is protected from extremism and practices no monopolised authority on truth. To review our history, and books, in order to eliminate fabricated idealism, which has been integral to the construction of delusional imaginations, unrealistic to our reality among students on our “heroisms” and our history, notwithstanding.

This is why, I had warned, many times, of the focus some specialists and activists place in there articles and lectures on the superficial issues and formalities in their critique of school book; so that we may not be detoured from the real issues to surface struggles that will not change the reality of our situation, and do not at all comprise the core issues in education, even though they are receiving so much attention in light of fears of the spread of ISIS-ilk thought!

Wednesday, for example, educationalist Dr Thouqan Obeidat, wrote a vital article on coining “6 Phenoms of Educational Pollution”, shedding light on major predicaments in education. Having personally heard the Minister of Education talk about these issues before; why are we hovering around the core? Let us get into the heart of the issue then, and actually reform education, via the fundamental developments of curriculum, which may deliver our student from indoctrination to critical thinking; from the individual approach in examination, to teamwork; an instrumental concept in modern education and methods, to facilitate students becoming accustomed to group work and cooperation in class as well as in research.

More so, developing education must not be in isolation from character building, psychologically, intellectually, and physically. Therefore, we need to bring back sports, arts, and culture; school theatre and reading… these activities really contribute to building students, and develop their ability to resist extremism and violence, reinforces coexistence, and produces a generation capable of communicating with others. These are the values we need, not some vacant words and pictures that make no difference, added to school books and described as “fundamental reforms”, no!

Tuesday, I wrote on the Middle Class and their Dismantled Voice in the elections. Something like this; education and schools, does it not drain the middle class across its different segment due to the deterioration of public schools?!

Most of the Middle Class families pay thousands every year to educate their children, which really consumes between one third to one half of their incomes, wears them out, all because no one wants their children sent to public schools to receive public education. Nonetheless, so far, there has yet to be comprised a real lobby to allocate more resources to developing education, even though it comprises a vital, crucial part of the middle class’ struggle, enduring tremendous pressures to survive, paramount of which is education!