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‘Pivotal to the future’

Apr 17,2017 - Last updated at Apr 18,2017

In his seventh Discussion Paper, His Majesty King Abdullah stresses the need to make comprehensive efforts to address the challenges facing education, which is “pivotal to building the future we seek”, a future in which Jordan “takes its rightful place among the countries leading educational transformation”.

In the paper, titled “Developing Human Resources and Education, Imperative for Jordan’s Progress”, the King stresses that developing education is a most rewarding investment.

To have education keep pace with times, to make it pertinent and a useful tool, it has to be constantly modernised and encourage critical and deductive thinking, while combining theory and practice.

Reform of our educational system is now the focus of many discussions, at times critical and uninformed.

Those critical, or fearful, of change, should heed His Majesty’s words: “We cannot allow fear of change or reluctance to embrace modernisation and scientific advancement to waste the vast potential of our tremendous human resources”.

Education, the King rightly said, must not be allowed to become captive to “petty politicking and narrow interests”, but “must rise above all such issues if we are to continue with our reform and development endeavours to create a better present and future”.

If the great potential the youth of the country has is to be properly unleashed, education is the conduit and the tool to let it free.

And through education, one need not understand just the ability to read and write; it should rather promote the use of modern information technology, of international languages, communication skills, professional work ethics, critical thinking and analytical skills.

“Our gate to the future lies in building capacities through quality education and excellent graduates,” the King said, but for this to happen, he urged a great collective effort — by parents, teachers and institutions.

Above all, if progress is to be registered in the educational system, change needs to be effected. And, as the King said, while “constantly seeking renewal, we draw inspiration from and reflect on our history to learn from it and create a better tomorrow instead of remaining tied to the past”.

Only through solid education can the young people of today get empowered and capable of taking on challenges, launch successful businesses, practise impactful crafts, start families and build a cohesive society, King Abdullah said. 

Moreover, especially in these times of little tolerance for the other, of xenophobia and of religious friction, education is the most effective tool that can help people “transcend differences and build common ground to spread tolerance and understanding, and shun bigotry and extremism”.

So, then, curricula and teachers are vital to the process of modernising education.

But while curricula could be changed in a short time, teachers cannot, yet they are instrumental to the teaching process.

Unfortunately, the level of many educators leaves a lot to be desired.

A process of weeding is therefore needed, whereby only capable teachers — and willing to keep pace with times — stay on to educate new generations.

Those incapable and unwilling to accept the much-needed modernisation have no place in schools.

Change is long overdue in institutions of education that once used to pride themselves on the standard of their graduates.

It has to be effected without delay if the next generation is to keep pace with time and challenges.

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