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Mixed reactions to reopening schools

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jul 19,2020 - Last updated at Jul 19,2020

The 2020/2021 academic year will begin on September 1, according to Education Minister Tayseer Nueimi (JT f ile photo)

AMMAN — As Education Minister Tayseer Nueimi announced last week that the 2020/2021 academic year will begin on the usual date, September 1, parents and guardians began arranging their children's return to schools amidst fears of the pandemic, as well as the high costs.

President of the Private Schools Owners' Association Monther Alsourani told The Jordan Times that the decision to go back to education at schools and in accordance with the usual calendar is "comfortable for both parents and private schools".

Alsourani said, over the phone, that there will be contracts with new articles between schools and parents, which should be satisfactory for both sides.

The association president described the decision of going back to school as "the best scenario that could serve the educational process" and achieve the necessary outcomes, as students will once again be able to interact directly with each other and with the teachers. He added that many working families cannot find the time to follow-up on their children's remote education. 

Although turning to remote education during the second semester was not the norm, "private schools handled it well, in coordination with the Education Ministry", Alsourani said, noting that the satisfaction rate with the experience stands at 70 per cent. 

Alsourani said that many private schools provided offers for the upcoming year, heeding the financial condition of parents and guardians, which "clearly is not the same as before the crisis".

Some schools went for partial losses instead of total ones by providing families with discounts, he said, noting that other schools could not provide such discounts "due to their high operational costs".

On social media, commenting on news related to the return to school, Maram Maryam wrote, "parents should have the freedom to choose between education at school or remotely, because I do not want to put my children in a public school, but I also do not want private schools to take all our money".

On the return to physical education, Saba Al Qadouri commented: "What about the coronavirus? How do we feel safe sending our children to school with the pandemic still out there?"

Nueimi also said that there is daily coordination with the Health Ministry to study the protocol for in-class education and determine the health standards that need to be implemented and maintained to ensure education goes on according to schedule.

Although the minister announced that no increase on private schools' fees will be approved, Salem Tawalbeh commented on Facebook that "private schools are providing discounts and asking families to enrol their children, but most families will move their children from private to public schools."

Replying to Tawalbeh's comment, Um Muhannad Hweileh wrote: "I have checked the prices of three private schools, and costs in all are still too expensive."

The parents, whose children are in private schools, have also demanded on social media that in case the Kingdom enters a second wave of the coronavirus and remote education is on the table once more, the government must have private schools deduct part of the fees and credit any paid bussing costs, in addition to costs of any activities students can no longer benefit from while at home, and fees collected for paper, copies and other fees schools charge.

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