- Community Empowerment
Jordan Education Initiative
As part of our commitment to prepare Jordan’s children for the demands of the 21st Century workplace, seven years ago, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, we launched the JEI – the Jordan Education Initiative.
Complementing several other reforms in the education sector, the JEI has introduced technology, in its many forms, to hundreds of classrooms and thousands of students throughout the country. And it has done so through a bold network of local and international partners, from the corporate and civic worlds.
But the JEI is about more than installing computers and cables in classrooms. The JEI is about creating innovative e-curricula…forging connections between students miles away and cultures apart…training teachers in new, interactive methods…and understanding that we can invite the world into our classrooms, even as we broadcast ourselves to the world. Often, that exchange –pupil to pupil, teacher to teacher, young to old, borders apart –is where horizons widen and ideas form.
And that gives a JEI classroom, a unique atmosphere and energy. I’ve seen virtual experiments inspire budding young scientists, and I’ve watched geographers close in on landforms from satellite cameras, and examine rock formations! Teachers, too, are motivated as never before, challenging themselves to devise lesson plans that take advantage of the web’s wonders. They’re learning the latest technologies and testing new tools as they develop e-curricula in math; and sharing their wealth of knowledge with each other, through an online Innovative Teachers' Network, as they devise new Arabic language materials.
What I’m most proud of is the way that this partnership has evolved and is attracting more interest. It’s not just Ministry officials and corporate executives who are working together, employees from firms like Intel are rolling up their sleeves for some hands-on teacher training, and Microsoft and CISCO are providing software and new technologies.
The success of the then JEI experiment has given us confidence in the power of public private partnerships to drive progress in Jordan - something which we’ve since built upon in the Madrasati model (www.madrasati.jo). I am grateful that JEI is one of the main implementing partners of Madrasati. Already, we’re seeing the fruits of that close collaboration blossoming one byte at a time through computer training classes and interactive white board technology.
The JEI model proves that by working together, by pooling resources and resourcefulness, we can bring lessons to life, challenge young minds, and reinforce the foundations of our schools. That’s the kind of start I want for every one of Jordan’s children.