Sixteen: All about Amman

Introduction

Jordan is implementing sensitive yet crucial educational reforms,vital for shaping a new e-generation that will be able to cope with the needs of modernization while giving the tiny, resources poor country chance to be a model of global competitiveness and a beacon for school modernization across the region.The effort, accelerated after King Abdullah took over in 1999 and began his modernization drive, shows what is possible in the largely conservative Middle East, where many countries like the UAE,Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, have embarked on similar reforms. The centerpiece of Jordan’s program is its comprehensive Education Reform for the Knowledge Economy Project (ERfKE),a vision which grew from a 2001 meeting of Jordanians and experts from the United States, Great Britain, Germany, and Canada. Keypillars of the program are: e-learning, integration of information technology into the educational system, teachers’ training, content development, and administrative reform. New text books that encourage scientific research and stimulate didactic thinking and promote openness, moderation and tolerance are being used by elite rate teachers trained by Cisco and Microsoft.“We are moving on the right track in terms of reforms, and we should keep going,” said Dr. Khaled Toukan, Education Minister since 2000, and a key driving force behind ERfKE — a $380 million five-year plan unveiled in July 2003. The overall cost excludes capital investment and recurrent expenditure which has shot up in Jordan and elsewhere across the region.

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