Queen Rania’s speech at The Queen Rania Award for Excellence in Education ceremony 2016

December 13, 2016

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be with you)…

I start by giving thanks to God for all that we’ve been blessed with, and pray that He may bless our celebration today. Yesterday marked the birth of the Prophet Muhammad Peace Be Upon him, so happy Mawlid Al Nabawi Al Sharif…May God bless our Muslim nation with peace on this Holy occasion.

Distinguished guests,

Every year, I look forward to the Excellence in Education Award. I look forward to it with images of the joyous teachers who won last year firmly etched in my mind, and the image of teachers holding their head high with pride, which presses me to work harder for our Jordanian teachers, as no group is more deserving of our support!

I cannot describe the hope that I feel when I am among you, and how greatly we are in need of hope; as the state of education in Jordan is not as competitive as it once was.  The most recent results of the TIMSS and PISA examinations demonstrate that the level of Jordanian students in science and mathematics is poor and has even declined from previous years!

About two months ago, the National Committee for Human Resource Development issued its recommendations for the development of education in Jordan. I gave a speech then which I was later told was bold and honest! It was most certainly honest because you can’t mitigate the figures and statistics, and because Jordan’s children and its future are far greater than courtesies. 

And today I will be honest with you and will not appease you on two things.

The first is that we must all take part in the development of education in Jordan.  And development requires substituting methods of the past with those that are compatible with the needs of the future.

The development of education means, first and foremost, the training of teachers both before the job as well as while on the job.

The development of education means that we maintain our principles and identity, while advancing the sciences and our knowledge; that the textbook be a teacher’s partner and their reference, rather than a hindrance to learning through its rigid style and wording. Who among us does not want this?

I have no doubt that we all wish for better education, but we often make promises and set plans that are as great as our dreams, only to accomplish what our fears allow us! This is why I call on you esteemed teachers to lead the educational renaissance from within your classrooms, and to reach out to the communities around you and invite them to be part of this renaissance.

The second thing I will discuss with you openly is that Jordanian teachers give us far more than we give them in return, and they take on more than they are able to handle.  

I know very well that you are faced with challenges on a daily basis, whether logistical, financial or social, and that some of you leave your homes before sunrise in order to get to work on time. I know that your classrooms are overcrowded, lacking enough desks and chairs, and that your resources are limited. Your curriculum is lengthy and rigid, making your job harder, and a class is barely enough to finish teaching a lesson. I know!

You have to attract the attention of a generation that does not respond to teaching techniques of the past. It is a generation engrossed in its electronic world, with at least two decades separating its ambitions from the curriculum between your hands.

A teacher’s light, however, still breaks through this stockpile of challenges, and those with us today have been able to devise solutions out of sheer need and despite great challenges. They have proved there is still room in those packed classrooms for innovative solutions and creative ideas.

It is for them that I am being honest, and it’s because of this, that teachers hold a special place in my heart.

I am baffled by those who do not work to support teachers, with whom we’ve entrusted our children. I am baffled by teachers who don’t strive to develop their teaching methods. I am puzzled by those who do not wish to advance and develop education in Jordan. And I am puzzled by those who fail you, for they are failing hope itself! Equally, my appreciation grows for each exceptional teacher and for anyone who stands by teachers and supports them.

Do not ever doubt how pivotal your role is, because if teachers doubt their role, they bury dreams and aspirations. And if they have faith in that role, they are capable of changing the course of history!

I am not offering a compliment when I say that you are the heroes of this country, each and every day.

Congratulations to our nation for its exceptional teachers present here and elsewhere outside this room, and congratulations to the recipients of this Award, both teachers and counselors.

Nothing can match the greatness and nobleness of your work, no measure of gratitude gives justice to your patience and dedication, and no joy is equal to the joy I feel when I see the smiles before me here today. I will remember these smiles, which will continue to fuel my drive to keep working for teachers.

I wholeheartedly hope that God always bring you happiness, and reward you, in equal measure, for all your efforts.

Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh (May the peace, mercy, and blessings of God be with you)…