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A worthy investment

Jul 15,2019 - Last updated at Jul 15,2019

When Prime Minister Omar Razzaz announced during a meeting at the Ministry of Education on Sunday that the government will make preschool education obligatory as of September 2020, he has in effect revolutionised education in the country and put it on a new path with far-reaching results. 

Making kindergarten education compulsory is not only a goal of the National Strategy for Human Resources Development, but also the goal of UNESCO and other specialised UN agencies, including the UN Committee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. 

This bold and daring decision will put Jordan among the vanguard of nations that have given the right to education a broader and deeper dimension that modern societies urgently need. 

Other than providing employment opportunities to mothers and teachers alike, kindergarten education has become a recognised aim of contemporary education. Children at the age of five are fully prepared to learn in an organised and systematic way and grasp the tools of learning. 

No doubt, this decision will impose additional burdens on the school system in the country, whether public or private.  Yet no matter how one calculates the additional expense, it would remain cost effective by all standards. As stipulated in Article 13 of the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Jordan has ratified already, the purpose and goal of education should be “directed to the full development of the human personality and the sense of its dignity”, and “promote understanding, tolerance among all racial, ethnic or religious groups” of peoples. The sooner this process begins the better. 

The main challenge facing the introduction of kindergarten schooling is, of course, recruiting qualified teachers for this purpose. Finding well-rounded teachers who can relate to five-year-old students is not going to be easy but as the saying goes where there is a will there is a way. 

Kindergarten classes are critical in shaping the minds and personalities of the very young. The Ministry of Education must be careful in selecting the suitable teachers for this early education process. No doubt, the concerned authorities may commit errors along the way but will soon rectify all shortcomings in the shortest possible time.

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