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Saturday, January 28, 2006

As Jordan Education Initiative goes global, Queen Rania outlines 'big ambitions' for Jordanian youth

(Office of Her Majesty Queen Rania- Press Department/Davos) As the Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) transforms into a global model for innovation in education following groundbreaking success, Queen Rania underscored Jordan’s commitment to remain at the “cutting edge of the cutting edge” in education.
 
Three years ago, business leaders at the World Economic Forum launched the Jordan Education Initiative, an innovative public-private partnership designed to develop new approaches to teaching and learning and creating a nurturing and enabling environment of self-discovery and experiential learning. Attesting to its success, the JEI model has, since then, found its way into Palestine, Rajasthan and, most recently, Egypt.
 
In introducing Queen Rania John Chambers, CEO of CISCO Systems, spoke of the importance of private public partnerships in creating the right environment for innovation in education and instilling the courage among policy makers to think out of the box.
 
In her opening remarks at the World Economic Forum session entitled ‘Global Education Initiative: Transforming Education Through Public Private Partnerships’, Her Majesty spoke of the power of education in creating “new constellations of opportunity”.  She added that in order to "unleash that power worldwide", the world "must tackle three critical challenges:  ensuring access… improving quality… and providing the right teaching for our times".
 
Tackling these challenges involves embracing "opportunities to expand educational boundaries-– combining technology with a new way of teaching, to expand our young people’s horizons".
 
The Queen stressed that “Globalization has revised the education equation”, creating new opportunities to expand the traditional boundaries of education through private-public partnerships and innovation.
 
Jordan is not wasting any time in making the most of these opportunities. “Education, innovation and information technology are the watchwords of our reforms.  We may be a small country, but we have big ambitions for our young population”, said the Queen.
 
Developed in partnership between the World Economic Forum and the Jordanian government, the JEI incorporates over 17 global corporations, 17 Jordanian entities, and 11 governmental and non-governmental organizations, as stakeholders in achieving its objectives.
 
The Queen highlighted the Initiative's achievements to date, from new e-curricula in subjects like Math, Arabic, Science, IT, English and Civics to more than 2,000 teachers trained and more than 50,000 students taught.
 
Queen Rania went on to add that the project's true value surpasses 'wiring schools': "it is about equipping young people with skills that will serve them throughout their lives – leadership, self-confidence, creativity, ambition, and a desire to connect and contribute to the wider world".
 
Equally important, the JEI successfully brought together and aligned the interest of private and public sector entities and galvanized growth and created success stories in the local IT sector.
 
She further stressed that, in order to move forward, the global community must forge "new partnerships with different sectors" and create "news ways of reaching our students".
 
Welcoming the fact that other countries, such as Palestine, Rajasthan and Egypt, have adopted the JEI model, Queen Rania said that Jordan looks forward to learning their "ideas for adaptations and improvements" and "importing" their "innovations"…" so that it is a truly global educational initiative".
 
Queen Rania concluded her remarks, saying: "Because after all, the Education Initiative is itself a voyage of discovery – a constant process of experimentation, evaluation, trial and error…The more we communicate with one another, the more efficient we will all be… the more successes we will find… and the more all our children will benefit". 
 
After delivering her opening remarks, Queen Rania joined Vasunhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan, India; Suzanne Mubarak, First Lady of Egypt; John Chambers, CEO of CISCO Systems, John Swainson, President of the Computer Associates, Sabri Saidam, Palestinian Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology, and Lord Carey of Clifton in discussing lessons learnt and ways to advance education through new collaborative and sustainable models of public private partnership.