Published: 2018-03-04 14:26
Last Updated: 2018-03-04 17:57
Minister of Education Omar al-Razzaz expressed his concern for the upbringing of Jordanian youth and addressed students in a lengthy Facebook post. In the post, he discussed issues such as individual and systematic change, extracurricular activities, and bullying. He also proposed solutions that will require all the stakeholders in education to exert the necessary efforts to instigate change.
The minister pointed out that the recent violence spurts are a reason to do some stocktaking of the educational process in Jordan. He posed that for a long time now, the focus of educational institutions has been heavily skewed toward academic achievement, which has had a negative impact on both students’ overall upbringing and learning.
He argued that perhaps increasing the number and duration of classes, and heavier textbooks have yielded consequences contrary to their intended purpose. By taking the socialization and adjustment of students for granted and focusing on academic achievement, the system neglects an essential component of education.
Razzaz addressed bullying and rhetorically asked whether we, as a community, should accept the status quo where issues are resolved through violent means.
He also urged students to realize that the process of change starts on individual level. He cautioned against dealing with problems in violent manner by saying that bullying is not an issue confined to the walls of schools, but rather spills over into families, society, future spouses and upcoming generations.
The minister called on students to solve issues through dialogue, accept differing opinions and embrace forgiveness as it is a virtue valued by all religions.
As a measure to steer the education system in the right direction, the minister promised that during the next academic year, 20% of the time students spend in school will focus on extracurricular activities. Art and sports, learning how to communicate and cooperate, work in a team, and maintain and develop students’ curiosity are some of the proposed solutions. Summer vacation will be dedicated to building students’ character and instilling them with a sense of national belonging.
The minister also stressed the importance that both the family and school play a role in forming the character of students. He affirmed that if schools are to transcend their traditional role, the institutions involved would need to cooperate such as teachers’ union, parent councils, and student parliaments among others.