The Queen’s Message, To Whom It May Concern

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Wed 7 September / Sep 2016. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Wed 7 September / Sep 2016. 08:11 PM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat


The timing of the launch of the National Strategy for the Development of Human Resources, under Royal Patronage last Monday, is highly important; as it coincides with the beginning of the new school year, and may contribute to bringing the tragedy of education in Jordan to light, for those who cannot see the full scale of the issue, and stress the pressing necessity to enhance our performance, at once, for the good of our students.


Additionally, turning the implementation of the strategy over to the Premier means that the outcome of all previous efforts now lay in the hands of the government, to go ahead with executing this strategy, in a multilateral discourse, in the stead of the unilateral outlines we’re so used to having.


The prime component in the launch ceremony was Her Majesty Queen Rania’s speech, which has communicated strong messages to all concerned with the issue; from parents, to students, officials, all the way through social institutions and media to other respective bodies, as Her Majesty confronted everybody involved in the shortcoming of the education process.


The great courage it takes to put such a coarse reality into words; a reality that strikes into the heart of matters that pillar the advancement of our society, science. What Her Majesty said that day should have been said years ago by officials; whom have been in denial all this time.


The depth of here message is in the exposure of truth, despite the calamity of it. That is to say that the outspoken address of these issues is a necessity, that bases from the fact that we may not cure or heal deformations and imbalances in the system without openly discoursing to correct diagnosis.


Among these truths, brought to light by the Queen, is one that indicates the performance of 80 per cent of our students in the elementary grade stages 2 to 3 fall below their universal measures on literacy and reading capacities. That is in addition to another painful truth that points to our elementary students in general being behind on mathematics, as the totality of education regresses in this field!


These issues, among others, hinder students in all the stages of their academic progression, and beyond. Weak foundation can only carry so much; and it has gotten to a point of chronic inherent de-capacitation, wherein treating the roots of the problem is extremely difficult. Students are under-performing in international test assessments in math and science over the last two seasons. This regression, or “underperformance”, is the highlight of our education sector in Jordan.


The general high school examination “Tawjihi”, which could be viewed as our greatest calamity, also received a share of the light shed by Her majesty’s speech when she said that even though efforts are being put into developing and rehabilitating Tawjihi, the results of the standardised examination platform remain unsatisfying. Last year, She said, 100 thousand students made it into 12th grade; less than 60 thousand of them submitted into the examination programme, with no more than 40 per cent passing. Which means that 1 in every 4 students who make it to high school actually graduates Twjihi! The results this year, the Queen points out, show a similar pattern.


While we are in no liberty to do so, we can always ignore dismiss our economic and 10-year plans, as many other strategies have been folded into oblivion at our governments’ discretion! Perhaps if we can afford the luxury of time, in spite of catastrophic percussions, and we don’t. More so, we shouldn’t. This is the fate of our children; their present and future; the most basic right, the least we can do for them, is to arm them with science and knowledge.


The quality of education and the performance of children has become a disturbing obsession for parents. And the courage Her majesty mustered to describe the reality of our tragedy, and the dimness of it as it looks, is what makes us also, at the same time, believe in a bright future full of hope, as drawn by Her Majesty a decade from now.


Indeed, it was a strong toned, coarse message, because it was packed with shocking facts on our reality. But it is no less shockingly realistic and accurate. Given a vision to resolution, we can arrive at a brighter and better future just 10 years from now, if everybody involved does their part and more, aiming to serve Jordan’s future, and that of our generations, instead of pursuing personal gains and agendas, to save them from a difficult fate some of our own now endure.