Reforming Education; Beyond Ceremonial

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Mon 5 September / Sep 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The message should’ve been clearer; sufficing with a ceremony to launch the national human resources development strategy reduces this to a mere occasion, undeserving of the purpose behind the massive efforts invested by the charged committee in developing this strategy.

The patronage of Their Majesties, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania Abdullah, is an important message that should have been broadcasted, and it means that the decade long plan to reform education, is a Royal agenda that accepts no concessions. This is was depicted in Her Majesty Queen Rania’s speech.

It seemed to me that most of the audience did not know that Her Majesty had prepared a speech on the ceremony’s programme. And her words were indeed shocking to the audience whom were shamed by the terrible reality of education in Jordan.

The statistics and proportions, compared to other countries around the world, brought to focus by the Queen, show how deteriorated education is in the early stages all the way up to universities. She spoke openly to the audience, and through them to all Jordanians, about the worsening status of our education institution and educationists.

But Her honesty was not protest, as much as it was motivational to all parties involved in the education process, that they may be reminded of their responsibilities and duties for the next phase, and take this 10-year plan seriously, to implement its tasks to the fullest.

Her Majesty’s speech would umbrella the legitimisation of the plan, and the philosophy behind it, described as a key element of comprehensive reforms, without which our future cannot be secured.

Afterwards, and in a brief speech by the Minister of Higher Education, Dr Wajih Oweis, with a short film broadcasted, the audience were introduced to the main highlights of the plan; and they are ambitious, least to be said, and penetrate all aspects that relate to education in Jordan.

According to the plan, an independent centre will be established, next to an academy to train and qualify teachers. The phases of the plan are time-lined, with Key Performance Indices (KPIs) in place, and a specialised commission to follow up on these plans.

The plan highlights target rates for children in kindergarten and elementary grades. And they entail in detail the tasks and steps required to develop higher education, from qualifying academics to developing content, in addition to the unified admittance programme.

All throughout the phases of the plan, Jordanian expertise will be employed, coupled with expertise and modules from leading countries in the field.

Among the audience, there were dozens of ambitious academics, politicians, and former education ministers. Side talks and debates among the attendees after the ceremony indicates their interaction with what we heard in during the ceremony, with an indispensable chance ahead to shake things up.

By the end of the ceremony, the head of the committee handed a copy of the strategic plan report to the prime minister, so that he would be charged with its implementation at once, as Dr Oweis put it.

Politically speaking, the audience understood from this that Dr Hani Mulqi is the next prime minister, to supervise the execution of the plan.

That aside, what is most important here is that this strategy is translated into government action plans. But, and simply because we’ve been failed many times by the government, I think it is only fitting that a higher Royal board is formulated to directly supervise the execution of the plan, to safeguard its application from the influence of social and political components used to hindering progress; successfully too, many a time.