The Curriculums: Attack and then Discuss!

By Jumana Ghunaimat

تم نشره في Mon 31 October / Oct 2016. 01:00 AM
  • Jumana Ghunaimat

The typical approach, more or less a general rule, in Jordan, to bring down every attempt to reform anything is: Attack and then Discuss!

There is a multitude of examples on this; most recent of which is the reaction to the school books amendments and curricular reforms, coined as the “Battle for Curriculums”! Recently, a massive, organised campaign targeted these reforms, based on the baseless allegation that these amendments are nothing more than an attack against Islam itself, and an attempt to detach students, and the upcoming generations, from their religion and culture!

Sadly; a job well done. The public opinion has been mobilised against reforming our curriculums through fears broadcasted into the hearts of our families, amidst claims these reforms were designed to bring down their values. And typically, many revolted against what they say as a deliberate agenda, as well as against the very concept of reforms and change!

As a result, those in charge with reforming the curriculums were scared out of it to the point that we are now concerned the government, comprised particularly of the Ministry of Education, has backed out of the curriculum development programme, even though there is no pressing need to do so.

So far, the committee charged with evaluating amendments, some of which actually is superficial and provocative, are procrastinating the declaration of conclusion. It is not rocket science!

That said, apparently, the campaign has worked, and has derailed them from their goals; so bad that so many have totally forgotten about the massive flaws of our education system and its catastrophic outputs, including thousands of illiterate school students, as well as university students who can barely read.

This has progressed to the point that people no longer talk about the crucial necessity to reform education, and have instead aborted the whole idea. Everybody claims the higher self-righteous grounds when it comes to religion.

Yet, despite the ferocity of this arbitrary and contrived battle, shying out of it should not be an option. Instead, we should push forward in the curriculum reforms programme, which is the least we can do for the coming and current generations’ hope for a decent life. It is our duty to fend for right; how is it now that we find it ok to back down or even set aside these rights, albeit for the time being, under the weight of fear, stirred by those who partially addressed these amendments with the intention of deforming them, whether for known or unknown reasons?!

We still expect of the ministries of Education and Higher Education to jointly work on the institution of a gradual, comprehensive reformation programme that includes all phases of the education process.

Realistic diagnosis of the problems in our education system, which is in terrible shape, was summarised by Her Majesty Queen Rania Abdullah, with both precision and openness, during Her speech at the launching ceremony of the national Human Resources development Strategy, last September. And She specifically stressed the need to begin reforms as soon as possible.

Now, it is up to authorities; particularly legislative and executive, to carry out, steadfast and fearless of the counter attack, the implementation of the recommendations of the strategy, in order to recap on our losses, while we can, and prevent the irreversible festering of our education system, leading to the resurgence of our schools, for us to rejoin the rest of the advanced world.

More so, it is no one’s right; albeit the government, the media, the civil society, or even the students own parents, to do with their children’s future, and the coming ones, as they please. That is beside the fact that the government’s fullback from continuing reforms is nothing but a sign of weakness, and of forfeiting the role of the State and the principle of the Rule of Law, especially when this backing down is factored by extortion.

Another indisputable fact is, so long as there is a state, the public has no authority over the content of school books.