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Ministry ‘committed’ to implementing panel recommendations on curricula changes

Committee says new textbooks teach critical thinking

By Laila Azzeh - Nov 07,2016 - Last updated at Nov 07,2016

AMMAN — A committee entrusted with examining changes to school curricula has maintained that the new school textbooks are holistically varied in the subjects and the skills they offer, introducing students to a set of advanced analytical methods.

The panel was formed after the controversy stirred over the recent curricular amendments.

The changes came under attack by some parents and education experts who perceived them as a way to “alienate students from their Islamic values”, while others deemed them as “necessary” and a “step forward”.

The criticism prompted the Education Ministry to form a committee of independent experts to revise the changes.

The outcomes of the panel, revealed Sunday evening, showed that the textbooks now teach students critical thinking and analytical skills, while instilling the concepts of citizenship, tolerance and humanity based on the values of Islam and other religions.

In addition, the report said the new curricula have become “more specialised and in-depth” within their respective subjects and are able to focus on basic language skills.

On the other hand, the panel recommended enriching the textbooks with more religious and conceptual texts and choosing verses from the Koran and Hadith (Prophet Mohammad’s sayings) that support students’ knowledge and awareness.

It also called for taking out texts that were misunderstood and caused confusion.

Meanwhile, the panel underlined that the Palestinian issue is “clearly present” in the textbooks, while the concept of jihad (holy war) is clarified.

The Islamic and Arab heritage as well as the role of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab army is also among the themes extensively covered by the curricula, according to the committee’s 54-page report.

“The ministry is committed to considering the recommendations of the committee, which has thoroughly examined all aspects of the new amendments,” the ministry’s spokesperson, Walid Jallad, said.

He noted that Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat underlined his commitment to implementing the panel’s suggestions.

Meanwhile, Jordan Teachers Association Spokesperson Ahmad Hajaya said the syndicate has received a copy of the report on Sunday and is still examining it.

“We are looking into the report and will soon issue a statement regarding it,” he told The Jordan Times.

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