Queen Rania visits Kingdom's top teacher

March 13, 2007

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Tafileh) Nae'em Al-Bawayzeh, one of the recipients of the Queen Rania Award for Distinguished Teachers in 2006, had Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah as an avid listener during his class.

Queen Rania visited the Arafeh Primary School for boys in Tafileh, where she sat amongst the first grade pupils as they eagerly demonstrated their reading skills in front of the Queen.

While most first graders might seem reluctant to speak out at first, these students were keen to identify the letters Al-Bawayzeh was writing. Before his chalk was lifted off the board, nearly a dozen hands shot up and students were vying for the teacher's permission to be the one to read the letter out load—the letters eventually spelled out 'Queen Rania'.

Her Majesty's visit comes at a time when applications for the 2007 Teacher's Award are being submitted. After the short spelling lesson, Her Majesty joined the faculty at the all-boys-school for a discussion about the award. Queen Rania commended the example set by the school. "I'm so proud that a teacher from Tafileh has received this award," she said, "It shows what can be done despite the challenges you may face."

While the award is focused on teachers, Queen Rania also acknowledged the value of principals. "It's important to think of principals as leaders, not just as members of the administration," she said, "because a good principal encourages and nurtures creativity and leadership, for teachers to follow."

She also visited students and faculty at the nearby Arafeh Primary School for girls where students briefed the Queen on their academic progress. Queen Rania arrived during the students' mid-day break and joined a number of eighth graders in a frank discussion about the school's resources and needs.

The school's principal, spoke of her hopes for the Teacher's Award. "It has done so much to encourage healthy competition amongst the teachers," she said, "and we all look forward to seeing it grow so that it can encourage more teachers here and across the Kingdom."

Her Majesty also connected with other members of the Tafileh community when she visited the local Vocational Training Center and the Irwaim Maternity Care Center.

The Queen toured the two-floor training center, where beneficiaries were participating in courses on sewing, computer training, and beauty product applications. Proudly displayed at the entrance of the center was a board with a number of messages encouraging women's participation in the workforce—a concept Her Majesty has promoted throughout Jordan and beyond.

As an advocate for improving quality health care, the Queen dropped in on the Irwaim Maternity Care Center to see what could be done to improve the conditions for new and expectant mothers in the area. The center hosts three nurses who see an average of 10 to 15 mothers a day. The center deals with family planning issues, child care, and provides vaccines and immunizations. While there is no lab on the premises, the center works with labs in the area when needed.

As she left the center, Her Majesty mingled with the crowd that had gathered to welcome her to Tafileh.