AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah, on Monday, met with a group of prominent educators and academics to discuss efforts towards achieving comprehensive educational reform in Jordan.
The Queen underlined the National Strategy for Human Resources Development, which was launched in September of last year, as the all-encompassing framework for education reform.
The strategy’s recommendations articulate an extensive ten-year plan for teacher training, curriculum development, early child development, and the integration of technology into classrooms with the aim of improving the overall educational environment in Jordan.
Her Majesty also stressed that curriculum development should focus on improving the way students learn as a top priority.
Queen Rania said that about two decades ago, Jordan was a renowned regional pioneer in education, before it witnessed a decline in its standing. "But maybe we should ask ourselves why our performance has deteriorated," she added.
There are several interconnected reasons for this decline according to the Queen, such as the rapid increase in the size of Jordan’s population, the pressures on its infrastructure caused by refugees, as well as regional turmoil. But the Queen insisted that the most important thing to remember is that criteria for success have drastically changed in recent years.
"What used to work ten years ago doesn’t work now. The skills that enable people to succeed today are not the same set of skills that enabled them to succeed ten or fifteen years ago. That’s why keeping pace with change is imperative."
In doing so, curriculum development should be an annual process, Queen Rania argued.
The Queen explained that Jordanians have always been prolific and resourceful in maximizing outcomes with what little they have, compared to other countries that are better equipped.
"So much of Jordan’s talent and expertise is not benefiting Jordan. This means we have to improve our education environment in order to attract the best talents for our students. And we want the best for our students."
The discussion also recognized the dire need to expand training opportunities for teachers before they start their careers and while they are teaching as central to keeping pace with advancing teaching methods.
The importance of improving "Tawjihi" examinations to account for students’ analytical and critical thinking skills acquired over twelve years of schooling, instead of accounting for their memorization skills, was another main point of discussion.
Some of the educators present recognized the challenges posed by the system’s reliance on memorization as a primary learning method even when it comes to subjects like mathematics, where analytical skills are required.