Teachers’ Strikes, An Opportunity To Prevent Jordan Becoming A Failed State

[10-10-2019 08:21 AM]

AMMONNEWS - By Madeleine Mezagopian- Jordan, a country with high rate of unemployment and poverty, is witnessing ongoing strike in one of its sector, however a crucial one.

The teachers of the public schools, a sector with regression in performance and outcomes, resorted to strikes for almost a month with demands and still to improve their living standard if not having their basic necessities met through 50% increase in their salaries. Determined and perseverant representatives of the syndicate of teachers exhibit no compromise to what the government is able or want to cater teachers’ demands.

Hitherto, the issue has been handled in isolation of the hardships encountered by the big majority of the public sector, not least with very timid and careful approach by the government. The government whose main argument of limited resources and tight budget did not involve a transparent approach in sharing the people with the records on revenues and expenditures shouldered by the government involving all the institutions e.g. the Judiciary, the Parliament, the Royal Court and the Greater Amman Municipality, inter alia.

A candid and transparent discussion based on valid facts and statistics hardly featured the interaction between the two conflicting parties. Proper and constructive dialogue between relevant actors is almost absent which is not surprising in a society where the culture of peace, compromise and tolerance is alien on all levels.

A discussion which entails rights and duties, performance and outcomes on behalf of the teachers to promote merit-based compensation is almost absent. The political orientation of the professional syndicates in Jordan continue to undermine the credibility and the intentions of the syndicates’ leadership including that of the teachers’ syndicate who failed to successfully lobby for and promote the interests of its members with the parliamentarians.

Given the deteriorating performance of both the staff and of the students, and the poor outcomes of the public schools. A crucial sector like the teachers of public schools with all its components and socioeconomic and political repercussions should have been tackled with comprehensive and coordinated approach by all the concerned spearheaded by the government at the very start of the so called “The Arab Spring” in 2011. An issue highlighted by this author on August 8, 2011 through an article entitled “Reforms in the Arab World: A Genuine Endeavor?” where the need to rehabilitate the public education sector at large in the Arab World including Jordan is emphasized.

The deteriorating situation is not detected only in the performance of the public education sector. It equally features the performance of the government at large and foremost of the parliament who had failed in successfully tackling teachers’ demands. An issue equally underscored by this author on September 9, 2018 in an article entitled “Jordan: A failed State?” with the following conclusion:

“The current developments in Jordan clearly indicate the government with its two branches, executive and legislative authorities, failed in carrying out its functions which resulted in losing the support and confidence of important segments of its people… Jordan remains in the warn category of Fragile States Index and appointing a prime minister of high credibility and integrity without dissolving the parliament and calling for new parliamentary elections most probably with new elections law and without uprooting corruption in all its forms and restructuring key institutions is a recipe for Jordan to become a failed state.”

The above argument is still very much valid. In order to prevent Jordan becoming a failed state, an immediate and courageous revelation of facts and acknowledging failure by all the concerned parties is required. To be followed with the much needed legislations, policies and decisions that secure having the right person in the right place in all positions e.g. the parliament, the executive authority, the Royal Court, the professional syndicates, among others, who can deliver without any additional eligibility requirements except loyalty to Jordan and to its people.

Let’s transform the teachers’ strike into an opportunity to peacefully rehabilitate all the sectors and prevent Jordan becoming a failed state.

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