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Parents voice concerns over ongoing teachers’ strike

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Sep 23,2019 - Last updated at Sep 23,2019

AMMAN — As the teachers’ strike entered its third week on Sunday, parents voiced concerns about how the situation might negatively affect their children who remain at home without schooling.

There are 37,222 students in public kindergartens, 200,000 first graders and 97,620 Tawjihi (General Secondary Education Certificate Examination) students, according to official figures shared with The Jordan Times. The figures also indicated that each day of the strike causes a loss of millions spent to operate schools while 1.5 million students are being deprived of their education. 

Hussein Zorba, who has a son in the 10th grade and a daughter in Tawjihi, said he is especially worried about his daughter, who, in such a crucial year that will determine her future, sits at home receiving no education at all.

"My son was supposed to start the 10th grade this year, but even after summer break, he has been sitting at home playing games all the time; I ended up having to transfer him to a private school in order for him to keep up with the curricula and receive an education," he told The Jordan Times over the phone on Sunday. 

"I know teachers want a 50 per cent increase on their salaries, but the strike has been [going] on for too long now; it is affecting the future of students,” Zorba said, adding that there needs to be another way to settle the issue without affecting students, especially Tawjihi students who “desperately need to finish their subjects before the ministry exams”.

Rania Shalabi, whose two daughters are in third and seventh grades, said: “My daughter was very excited to start the seventh grade and wear the green uniform, and although most students her age would be happy to just stay home, she actually wants to study,” adding that her other daughter is still so young that she is, “not taking any of this seriously”. 

Shalabi said that if the strike goes on any longer, the students will forget what they learned last year and will not return to their studies with the same spirit and excitement. 

She added that teachers need to find a different way to press for their rights, since, even though she agrees they should receive their pay raise, she still thinks students should not be deprived of their education to reach those rights.

Mohammad Bdair, who transferred his son to a public school, said that the strike has affected his son even more than the transfer did.

"My son was used to the atmosphere of private schools, but I could not afford their high costs, so I had to transfer him to the nearest public school, and now the strike has halted his education even further; I do not know what to do anymore really, I just hope this all ends soon, no matter how," he said. 

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