By Fahed Khitan

Will He Carry the Flame?

The Ministry of Education, along with the newly appointed Minister, Dr Omar Razzaz, as well as a vast segment of society, were all under the pressure of the Tawjihi national exam, and the release of the winter term results.

Now it’s done, and thankfully, it went well.

Just weeks before, the Minister was targeted in an unfair crusade following his assignment. Being the wise man he is known to be, backed by the enlightened and progressive segments of society, he was able to overcome opposition, and grow over the whole thing to gain the respect of those who until only recently came to know him.

Yesterday, Razzaz was in on the King’s meet with the higher ministerial committee, chaired by Prime Minister Dr Hani Mulqi, in charge of implementing the 10-year National Human Resources Development Strategy.

Its time has come.

The meet set off the launch of the Strategy’s implementation, including steps to develop and reform education on all levels.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Higher Education had already begun translating its part of the Strategy into action plans. And even though the Ministry did not adapt the whole strategy into its plans, especially parts of it that have to do with shutting the Parallel Education Programme down, they did adapt other parts of it into the Ministry’s executive schemes.

Still, the greatest challenge here is reforming school education; it either sinks or float.

Obviously, the outputs of the Higher Education system is closely related to the products of schools.

Most likely, Razzaz will not start from scratch.

Several steps to platform reforms have been made already, by bodies and ministers before him, prime of which is the Teachers Rehabilitation Centre.

Soon, an independent examination centre will be established, as well as another one for curriculums. And in the centre of all these bodies and institutions, the primary and most instrumental monument which brings it all together is the Ministry itself; with its staff, schools, and faculties, as the primary catalyser in the endeavour of establishing the reforms needed, which cannot be attained in seclusion from the primary body.

Notably, Razzaz is a man of vision, with an exceptional command of the scientific method, bringing forth a pioneering reformist project in all tiers of the system. Today, however, he finds himself in a position he’s never been before, despite his festive career, bearing the responsibility of transforming conceptual ideas and plans to practical, executable programmes, to lead on the march for Jordan’s most vital quest for reforms; Jordan’s biggest and most critical sector, without which no other discourses of reform can be attained.

Of course, he will not be able to work alone; the era of individual achievements and policy enforcement is done in modern states. Razzaz has only to build himself a strong coalition of proponents within the Ministry and beyond.

More so, the Minister needs to break the traditional dominion and bring schools, teachers, and the Ministry itself closer together.

For example, Razzaz can start with himself, by designating some time to work closely with a selection of near and remote schools, in order to become familiarised with the issues of their reality and gain a first-hand understanding of the student-teacher dynamic; no filtration or beautification.

In addition to the exceptional knowledge he will surely aggregate, by doing so Razzaz would be making friends and allies in almost every school, district, and classroom!

There is nothing worse for the progress of education reformation than it remaining excluded to the elite circle of society, so detached from reality.

It is very easy to defeat such an elitist, secluded project.

The King set the flame alight, will the reformist Minister carry it through and bring light back to schools across the Kingdom and restore hope to the masses of teachers and frustrated students?!

We’ll see.

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

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