On Education and Curriculum Reforms

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Sat 1 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

Perhaps one of the most heart breaking sights is seeing students tearing their school books and burning them. How can that student respect and appreciate a book? And how can a generation that has gotten to the point of burning books in front of their teachers, and perhaps by the latter’s incitation, respect science?!

It has come to this; the battle to reform curriculum and school books, as though we have all together abandoned all reason and logic.

In an attempt to address the absurdity of the boiling debates at hand on this particular topic, I will try to elaborate on the amendments to curriculum, with cold precision, given the sensitivity of the subject matter, and the deviation that has coursed from the intended purpose to reform and rescue our deteriorating education.

Suddenly, we seem to have forgotten all about the flaws of the education process in Jordan and its catastrophic outputs, to the point that it has become normal, maybe even acceptable, to speak about illiterate students! Now, it seems as though we have to deny all our problems, simply because it serves the best interests of conflicting parties.

In the midst of the storm that has derailed us, critics have made the amendments and reformation seem as though it were an assault on Islam, which is farthest from truth; just as the alleged beautification of the Israeli occupation in school books. None of that is true.

On the other hand, some of the criticism is on point. Why was the part on Ibn Battuta knowing the Quran by heart omitted? How is that in any way relevant to the radicalisation of youth? Who said there are no advantages that come from memorising the Quran? Additionally, some of the amendments in general, and in some detail as well, does not serve the sought interests of raising the quality of school books, and therefore the proficiency in analysis and thought among students; like changing the name Fatima, what purpose does that serve besides provoking everyone into abandoning the totality of the curriculum reformation idea all together!!!

Hence, opponents of education reforms make it sound as though our books have been dried out of Quran verses and Hadith, which is utterly incorrect.

Perhaps more dangerous, is the outrageous fabrication of stuff like girls undressing and paragraphs stating Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel. Additionally, the criticism on the deletion of the section on Jordanian Hero Firas Ajlouni, well; that was omitted two years ago. And just as this deletion is wrong, so is the effort to sabotage the reforms and the lies being spread, especially since it is all intended to incite further dispute in service of the agendas of anti-reformists.

Strangely enough, we did not dispute over the deformities in our curriculums, and we all agreed that the instruments provided for our upcoming generations do not suffice to face the challenges of our time; so why conflict now over the necessity to amend them?

Once again, reforming the curriculum is a pressing national necessity. And parents should be the first rallying to see these amendments and reforms through, not oppose them! Opponents on the other hand, need to be objective, just as much as the defenders too. So far, the Ministry of Education, as well as those whom have worked on the amendments, remain unnecessarily silent, while the information they broadcast falls short on whether or not what is being rumoured is indeed true. Official information does not allow for the public to formulate a clear position. And the more into silence they fall, the more room they actually make for rumours.

The problem is that the current opposing it; deforming the aspects of the reforms, relies on partial cherry picking and manipulation of the public’s sensitive religious sentiment. And the debate has so culminate that students are being exploited in a battle that was supposed to be an intellectual one. It is most unfortunate, and no less hurtful, that the very idea is being vilified, demonised, as the one imminent chance at hand to save our generations is being abducted by dispute and political bullying!

We need to resound conscience here; take another look at this issue, that we may all be partners in the reformation and development of school curriculum. We need to get out of the trenches in our mind, because fact is; we are all in this trench together, whether we like it or not, and there is no use fighting!