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Teachers association upset for not being consulted on education reform

By Laila Azzeh - Jan 30,2013 - Last updated at Jan 30,2013

AMMAN — The Jordan Teachers Association (JTA) on Wednesday said they “resented” the fact that the government had approved an education reform plan without consulting the syndicate.

The Cabinet on Tuesday endorsed a four-point plan for developing the education system, which focuses on updating the school curriculum and building teachers’ skills, among other reforms.

“We only found out about the plan in the newspapers, like any other entity unrelated to education, despite being promised by the education ministry to have a say in it,” JTA Deputy President Hussam Masheh told The Jordan Times.

He noted that the association’s board members were “astonished” that the Cabinet had endorsed the plan without informing the JTA.

A source from the education ministry, who preferred anonymity, said Minister of Education Wajih Owais would hold a meeting with the JTA soon to discuss the details of the plan.

“The Cabinet only endorsed the overall aspects of the scheme, not the details of its implementation, which are still in the pipeline,” the source said.

This promise was cold comfort, however, to the JTA.

“The education minister has promised us before to sit with the JTA board and engage them in the project… what’s the use of consulting us after endorsing the plan?” Masheh remarked.

The plan proposes several major changes to the education system, such as redrawing the map of school districts and merging schools in order to address imbalances in the distribution of students and teachers and better invest the available human resources.

It also entails reforming the content of primary and secondary school curricula to include issues related to human rights and democracy, improving extracurricular activities, training new teachers and linking educational outcomes with the needs of the labour market.

In addition, the plan aims to reform the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) in order to avoid wasting money, time and effort.

The JTA vice president warned that the Tawjihi, which determines what subjects a student can study at university, is still a “sensitive and essential” exam for students and that intensive studies should be conducted before making any changes to it.

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