On the King’s Seventh Discussion Paper…

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sun 16 April / Apr 2017. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

After the King’s sixth Discussion Paper on the Rule of Law and the Concept of the Civil State, the wheels were in motion for the development of the judiciary in Jordan.

Hence, a Royal Committee was founded of specialists to lay out a roadmap for the required legislative reforms and the frameworks of respective institutions.

In record time, the government, on their part, successfully translated the recommendations of the Committee to actual legislations and laws.

Over the next few weeks, the Parliament will convene in an extraordinary session to discuss and decide on these amendments, described by local and international rights groups as ‘progressive’.

This achievement, notably, could not have been attained had it not been for the King’s sixth Discussion Paper and the philosophy behind its discourse.

Generally, the point of it all is to drive and navigate public opinion on the priorities of reformation as well as on the steps needed to realise its goals.

Similarly, His Majesty’s seventh Discussion Paper, last Saturday, addresses education reforms in Jordan, as the nation’s gateway to progress in all fields.

This Royal Paper, however, does not seek merely to ignite a discussion on the title. It goes beyond that to actually setting off the education reformation process by clearly underlining the initial steps, prefaced by the Royal Committee’s recommendation on the development of human resources last year.

A few months ago, the Committee’s conclusions were implemented by the establishment of the National Centre for Curriculum Development (NCDC).

Recently too, the Queen Rania Teachers Academy (QRTA) made numerous steps in the right directions. Much has been achieved for the cause of reforming education under Minister Dr Mohammad Thunaibat, and even more under the current Minister, Dr Omar Razzaz, on an even faster pace.

Meanwhile, as the bodies of state engage the components and currents of society in a heated but possibly beneficial and necessary debate, it is vital that we stay the course.

Otherwise, the debate, which could help pillar these reforms, could also be employed by some to disrupt and suspend the progress of the reformation programme altogether.

Some of the influential folk would rather take us all back to square one, risk the future of our youth and the educational institution as a whole, than see these reforms succeed.

It is typical for any reformation endeavour to face resistance, and for a variety of reasons and motives.

In many instances, opposition of such reforms is caused simply by misunderstandings, which are natural in any such situation, or an inability to comprehend change.

Similarly, opposition is sometimes driven by fear of change, and submission to the predominant culture.

Therefore, the King does not suffice by merely saying we should reform education.

His Majesty goes beyond simply stating the obvious, in His paper, to elaborating on the justifications and objective factors which necessitate this change.

More so, the Monarch commands that we see these reforms through, in their entireties, and he commands it for no other reason at all but to safeguard such a crucial effort from disruption. There is no cherry picking it. To save it from the fate many previous reforms endeavours have met.

Once more, His Majesty says it loud and clear: debate is fundamental to the arrival at the best attainable formula for education reforms, but “we cannot allow fear of change nor reluctance to embrace modernisation and scientific advancement to waste the vast potential of our tremendous human resources.”

Looking at other western and Islamic states, Malaysia for example, many have become leaders in education.

Similarly, in each and every one of those exemplary models, there were currents and forces which opposed reformation and fought it with everything they had.

Despite it all, the will for change triumphed. And in face of massive success, the opposition had only to concede to the triumph, and surrender to progress.

Likewise, we in Jordan should do the same. We are no less capable, nor less deserving. We should carry on the path of reform, and brave the strife to gain.

This article is an edited translation of the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.