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House alliance ready with plan to overhaul education sector

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 19,2014 - Last updated at Jan 19,2014

AMMAN — A leading lawmaker said Sunday that his bloc has prepared a plan to revive the education system, featuring a suggestion not to hire teachers before they obtain a teaching licence.

According to MP Mustafa Hamarneh (Madaba, 1st District) the suggested plan, if adopted by the government, is likely to trigger a transformation process that will take the quality of education to the next level.

Hamarneh leads the Mubadara initiative, a House-based alliance seeking to convert into a shadow government with a clear platform to address key national issues.

Recently, the bloc reached a landmark deal with the government, under which plans are being finalised to grant the children and husbands of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians full civil rights.

The teaching licence suggestion is part of a full-fledged draft plan that is yet to receive endorsement by Mubadara members before it is presented to the government next week. Hamarneh told The Jordan Times over the phone that it addresses all aspects of the education process.

The bloc will urge the government to restructure the administration of the educational sector and allocate more funds to send postgraduate students to renowned educational institutions abroad to obtain higher degrees and return to serve their country. The plan speaks about a target of 2,500 students, according to Hamarneh.

The lawmaker, a prominent university professor and researcher, said that the proposed plan also addresses loopholes in basic education, citing recent remarks by Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat, who said that more than 100,000 students in grades 1-3 are illiterate.

Mubadara will push to limit the General Secondary Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) to the two streams: academic and vocational, which was the old version of the national test. At present, the Tawjihi is divided into five independent streams including scientific and literary as academic streams in addition to IT and Sharia, or Islamic law, and agriculture.

In a related development, the Education Committee of the Lower House held a meeting Sunday, during which it directed harsh criticism towards the education leadership demanding to put the last five education ministers on trial for their alleged failure to address the deteriorating education situation.

Head of the committee MP Mohammed Qatasheh (Tafileh, 1st District) said if the same approach continues, “then the educational system will collapse and this government will ruin the most valuable asset in the country”.

He held the successive government accountable for the “shocking” outcomes of the basic education, saying “100,000 students in the basic levels are illiterate, of whom almost 70,000 are in the southern region”.

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