Ammon News, Culture & Society

Jordan honours women on Mother’s Day

[3/21/2017 4:44:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Jordanians celebrate Mother’s Day today along with several countries around the world. Every year on March 21, Jordanians have developed a habit of celebrating their female relatives — mothers, grandmothers or mothers-in-law — by buying them gifts and spending time with them. Over the years, the occasion has become increasingly commercialised, with advertisements of offers and discounts on potential gifts such as home appliances and jewellery displayed in newspapers, social media and street billboards. Meanwhile, the current economic difficulties facing many families has moved Mother’s Day gifts down the list of spending priorities in March. Asma Ali, an employee at a private information technology company, said she usually takes her mother out for a nice dinner or buys her a decent gift, but this year, she is replacing that with a bouquet of flowers. “It is difficult to allocate at least JD50 for the gift, especially since salaries are due in a week or so,” she told The Jordan Times over the phone on Monday. Jamal Wreikat, a father of three, agreed, adding that he does not feel a need to buy his mother a gift on this occasion, especially since she lives with him. “I am constantly blessed by my mother’s presence at home and I do not wish for an occasion to bring us closer together,” he said. Yet, Anas Arrab still makes sure he does something special that day for his mother and elder sister. “Even if I do not believe in this occasion, I do not want my mother to feel that the sons of her relatives or neighbours have bought their mothers gifts and her son did not,” he said, noting that he always buys her something she needs. As for Marah Najjar, another interviewee, the day is an occasion to celebrate with her aunt and two grandmothers, as her mother passed away five years ago. “There is always that ache of losing my mother, but I am glad I can make other important women in my life happy,” she said. Mother’s Day is celebrated on various dates in many parts of the world, most commonly in the months of March or May. The celebration of Mother’s Day began in the United States in the early 20th century, according to web sources. In the Arab world, one of the main instigators of Mother’s Day was writer and journalist Mustafa Amin after he heard a story of a widow who raised her son, explained the website Live Rich, Live Well. The woman is said to have made many sacrifices so that her son could become a doctor. When he achieved success and got married, he left her on her own, showing no gratitude. Amin found this appalling, according to the website, and campaigned to have a Mother’s Day held in Egypt. The first official Mother’s Day in Egypt was marked in 1956, and other Arab countries later adopted the holiday. *JT

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UJ mulls implementing online voting system in student union polls

[3/4/2017 3:53:29 PM]

AMMONNEWS - With the student union elections approaching, the University of Jordan (UJ) has issued a new set of regulations, with the possibility of implementing an online voting system to avoid any clashes between candidates, according to a UJ statement released Saturday. In the statement, which was e-mailed to The Jordan Times, the university said it will adopt a new system for the student union, which is to be elected next month, to ensure the safety of students and the accuracy of results. The voting procedure will require having specific seat numbers for each bloc or list and limit the number of bloc members to 15, under a minimum number of nine students from at least six different faculties. The elections can be conducted during any semester and should not be restricted to only one semester, excluding the summer courses, the statement said. The university’s council of deans also has the right to extend or dissolve the session of the current student union, in case of an emergency. However, some students questioned the "reliability" of the new voting system, expressing concern that they will not be able to get the details of the results under the new procedure. "The university’s elections should not be restricted to online platforms, as it is purely a student activity that increases the spirit of the team and endorses democracy,” Ahmad Rabih, a university student, said. “In regular voting methods, we would know who has the highest voting base, but honestly, with the online voting system, we are not certain that the results would be reliable,” the third-year engineering student told The Jordan Times. Meanwhile, voicing support for the move, some students urged other universities to follow the lead of UJ, explaining that such a procedure would “ensure a safer environment for students”. Mohammad Gharaibeh, a second-year student, said the move would prevent clashes on campus. “Given the previous clashes that happened in November, I believe it would be wise to implement an online platform for voting, especially since many students want to vote but are afraid to vote on campus.” Student and activist Sarah Suleiman agreed, adding that “sometimes, strict measures should be taken to guarantee democracy”.

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Lower House begins discussing environmental protection bill

[2/26/2017 3:30:11 PM]

AMMONNEWS - The Lower House on Sunday began deliberations over the environmental protection bill, which aims to regulate and facilitate environmental protection practices taken by stakeholders. According to the draft law, a fund for environmental protection will be formed by the Ministry of Environment to protect and preserve the environment by funding a variety of projects and activities. The fund’s board of directors will be chaired by the minister of environment and will include six members nominated by the prime minister, with three of these to be chosen from among private-sector stakeholders. Lawmakers also referred with urgency the draft amendments to the national building code to the House Public Service and Transportation Committee. Deputy Khaled Awad (Amman, 3rd District) said: “We need to finish working on this bill urgently, given what we witnessed of building collapses.” In late January three buildings collapsed in Amman’s Jabal Al Jofeh neighbourhood. There were no fatalities primarily due to the actions of an unemployed engineer who was in the area and helped evacuate residents after alerting the authorities. The bill mandates that technical committees should control violations committed in residential buildings and force the owners of housing companies to remedy any faults in accordance with these committees’ recommendations. In addition, the bill also entails strengthening the role of regulators in the construction and engineering sectors, in order to preserve public safety. The bill also stiffens penalties for offences related to both housing and district regulations. Speaking at the session, Balqa Deputy Mustafa Yaghi said he has received complains that a public school has “installed communication towers on its rooftop, ignoring the health hazards that it might cause to the students”. In response, Education Minister Omar Razzaz said the towers have been installed to connect schools in remote areas to the e-learning system, and enable teachers and students to benefit from innovative teaching methods. “These towers have no health risk for students according to extensive studies that have been conducted,” Razzaz added. The session was disrupted by a woman in the public gallery who pleaded with MPs and the minister of finance to help her with some issues she is facing. She continued to shout and scream , prompting Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh to ask security forces to remove her from the session. *Jordan Times

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Queen Rania meets Jordanian academics, discuss education reforms

[2/20/2017 1:30:43 PM]

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.

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Queen visits Hashimiyat Al Zarqa to support local community development programs

[1/23/2017 10:27:41 AM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah visited Hashimayat Al Zarqa district in the Governorate of Al Zarqa on Monday to check on the progress of a number of small income-generating projects funded by an initiative to improve the living conditions of needy families. The visit follows a financial grant scheme issued by the Royal Hashemite Court (RHC) and implemented by the Community Center Association (CCA) in coordination with 23 societies, working with the Ministry of Social Development and local administrative authorities. The grant carries out development projects that cater to 286 families in the governorates of Al Zarqa and Al Mafraq, with the CCA providing guidance to the beneficiaries on how to create their own income-generating projects. Founder of the CCA Dr. Sari Nasser, and its President Dr. Firyal Saleh joined Her Majesty while she toured Al Hashimiyah Women Society for Social Development with its President Ms. Fatmeh Al Jamal. Established in 2010, the women’s society provides services to women, underprivileged families, students, orphans, and disabled people. Queen Rania also dropped by a business workshop conducted by the youth development and nonprofit organization Injaz on how to convert a business idea into an actual project, as well as a child health awareness session for women, and three classes for children with disabilities. The Queen also visited local resident Mr. Hussein Al Hindawi’s thriving kiosk, which he was able to set up through a grant from the RHC. The small business has been helping Mr. Hindawi, who is blind, make a living to support his family. Her Majesty then attended a meeting with fifty community leaders representing the heads of societies currently managing the funds and providing guidance to its beneficiaries. The meeting, which was moderated by Dr. Saleh, included testimonials from beneficiaries highlighting the impact the projects have had on their living conditions. Addressing the audience, Her Majesty said she was thrilled to see their hard work and determination materialize into constructive projects despite the difficult economic conditions Jordanians are reeling under. The Queen commended their creative projects and thanked the CCA for its efforts in building strong partnerships with local charities that have ensured the success of the projects. Before ending her visit to Zarqa, Queen Rania visited the female-headed household of Mrs. Rana Al Jamal, who has successfully launched a home business to support her four children.

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Children under 5 are most likely victims of traffic accidents

[1/22/2017 3:24:00 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Children under the age of five are the most likely to be killed in road accidents in Jordan, according to recent statistics. The Central Traffic Department’s (CTD) 2015 study of road accidents showed that children under five years old recorded the highest rate of deaths among pedestrians, with 34.17 per cent. Around 17.59 per cent were between the ages of three and five, while 16.58 per cent were under the age of three. According to initial records from 2016, 67 pedestrian children aged five and younger were killed after being hit by vehicles, three more deaths than in 2015. Lt. Col. Yaser Habahbeh, the director of the CTD’s traffic accidents investigation department, said such fatal accidents often occur while the child is crossing main or subsidiary roads, in residential areas while skating or riding bicycles, and also in home garages. “In many cases the father, brother or uncle does not pay attention to the child playing behind or under the car, and they run them over in the garage,” Habahbeh told The Jordan Times on Sunday. He said the family’s role is crucial for road safety in the early years, as parents are responsible for teaching their children how to deal with roads. Parents should not allow their children to play in streets, but instead in playgrounds, and should teach them to walk on the pavement, or to walk against the traffic if there are no pavements, Habahbeh encouraged. He also advised that children should wear reflective colours at night because motorists may not be able to see pedestrians wearing dark clothes. Nizar Al Abedi, president of the Jordanian Society for the Prevention of Road Accidents (JSPRA), cited parental neglect and lack of awareness as the main causes of the problem, explaining that pre-schoolers are not included in any kind of Public Security Department awareness campaign. Abedi said that many pavements are not suitable for pedestrians because they have many trees and obstacles, so people have no choice other than to walk on the road. The JSPRA president said he considers the media, government, NGOs and every member of society responsible for raising and spreading road safety awareness. He claimed that even awareness campaigns in schools are not at acceptable rates, because advice or lectures are not enough to create awareness among a generation. “Even in schools, some lectures about traffic and road accidents are not enough. Traffic education should be part of the curricula, at least part of the activities in class — 15 minutes a week,” he urged. *Jordan Times

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Queen Rania meets with women from Sayyidat Nashmiyyat group

[1/11/2017 3:26:28 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah met with women from the ‘Sayyidat Nashmiyyat’ group on Wednesday to highlight the active role of online platforms in pushing communities towards positive change, and creating better informed and socially engaged societies. Established in 2015, ‘Sayyidat Nashmiyyat’ is a Facebook group that includes more than 40,000 active members, who engage online with a variety of topics including education, women’s issues, childcare, health, and community empowerment. During the meeting, which was held at Kan Zaman Restaurant in Amman, Her Majesty learned about the group’s activities and heard from its Founder, Ms. Enas Shahin, about the group’s ongoing vision and strategies. Shahin noted that the organization has been working to engage Jordanian women in social media, and teach them to use online platforms in a positive manner that can drive change within their communities. Addressing the group’s members, Queen Rania said she was proud to learn about the group’s active role in promoting responsible social media engagement, and providing a narrative to counter negative ideas that have become widespread on social media platforms. Her Majesty thanked the women for their role in creating an ongoing discussion about education on social media, highlighting the need to ensure that quality education becomes a national priority so that Jordan can reclaim its reputation for excellence in education. Queen Rania added that this begins with training and equipping teachers with modern teaching skills, and developing better curricula to improve students’ understanding. Shahin described ‘Sayyidat Nashmiyyat’ as a women’s forum that aims to raise women’s awareness about the power of their online role in addressing Jordan’s ongoing challenges. The group’s efforts have so far been successful in fighting racism and the incitement of violence, while promoting an inclusive society through respect for all regardless of differences in faith, political views, and ethnicity. The meeting included remarks by several women, who shared their experiences since joining the group, and briefed Her Majesty on an online survey they conducted to examine the role that teachers, curricula, and school environment have on education outcomes.

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