On the morning of January 11th, representatives from various education related organisations filled the Grand Hyatt hotel’s banquette room. The learning event was convened by Arab Renaissance for Democracy and Development (ARDD), a Jordanian civil society organisation, whose role in the education project has been centre stage.
Several elements built up yesterday’s programme: a presentation of research findings and general impressions gathered from this, examples of successful practice in Jordan, and finally panel and participant discussions.
The intention of this programme was to incite productive dialogues that can lead to a culture of accountability for improving the learning environment in Jordan. Promoting quality education to Jordanian and Syrian refugee children in the context of formal basic education has been the main objective for the education project. The completion of its two main phases; a comprehensive literature review and fieldwork studies, served as the foundation for empirical findings presented at the learning event.
Education for the Future has had a largely research focused character, hence close collaboration with the Norwegian research foundation, Fafo. Fafo and ARDD, with financial backing coming from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, carried out qualitative research in 40 schools and 107 households in the Mafraq governorate.
Fafo produced key findings collected during the 20-month project span. Their results were to paint a picture of the current status and challenges of the today’s learning environment in Jordanian schools. Some of the main challenges identified are connected to overcrowding and uneven distribution of students, poor physical infrastructure and maintenance of schools, safety concerns, and limited capacity of teachers.
The research findings also revealed that Jordanian and Syrian students and their parents reportedly have a lot of the same experiences. Their opinions however differ in terms of perceptions of what constitute the main challenges in the schools.
Also present at the event were prominent figures from the Jordanian Ministry of Education and Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MoPIC). Amongst them were panellists HE senator Haifa AlNajar, Dr. Raed Elewa and moderator HE senator Dr. Sawsan AlMajaly. The remaining panel consisted of Chief of Education-UNICEF Jordan, Ms. Phuong T. Nguyen and Mr. Jalal Ahusseiny from the Fafo Research Foundation.
The conference attended by over 70 participants, concluded with an impassioned panel and participant discussion serving as evidence of the strong will and political character tied to this project’s desired outcome: quality education. The general consensus was to keep current debates flowing so that physical interventions can eventually be implemented.