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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Queen visits Al Jiza

Queen Rania welcomes students back to school

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department - Al Jiza) Schools across the Kingdom started their new academic year today after a long summer holiday; at Al Jiza Secondary School for Girls students said they were pleasantly surprised to be returning to school to find Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah on their campus.

Queen Rania visited the school on Wednesday to welcome back the students and teachers and to offer her support for the upcoming year. Her Majesty joined a group of teachers in the faculty room for a candid conversation about their expectations for this year. "You impact the future the most," she told the teachers. Her Majesty commended their efforts and achievements under sometimes challenging circumstances.

Teachers, she said, play an important role in shaping students' characters and help the community in overcoming obstacles and challenges in Jordan's poor areas.

As she toured the school with the Minister of Education Khaled Touqan, and the Ministry of Education's Secretary General Tayseer Al Nuemi, Her Majesty listened to the needs and concerns shared by the principal, Yosra Kassab, who noted the need for expanded facilities.

According to Touqan, public schools are witnessing a net influx of approximately 16,000 students each year and many of them are facing expansion problems. Still, the ministry is working hard to balance this problem and ensure that all students across the Kingdom have access to quality education. To do this, the ministry has increased the length of the school year to 195 days, and plans to increase it further to 200 school days within the next few years which is the standard in most industrialized nations. The ministry has also revised the curriculum for the second, fifth, ninth and eleventh grades.

When Her Majesty stopped in on a few of the classrooms, she distributed backpacks and supplies to the students and got the chance to see some of the changes in the new text books as she flipped through the pages. Queen Rania commended the Ministry of Education by saying they are doing a great job to enhance the curricula and this will hopefully lead to more productivity in classrooms.

The backpacks and supplies distributed are part of a nationwide campaign initiated by His Majesty King Abdullah II to ease the burden on parents in the poorest areas of Jordan. There are approximately twenty poverty pockets around the Kingdom, and this year 110 thousand school kits will be distributed to students in public schools in those areas.

Al Jiza Secondary School for Girls is a public school and accommodates 300 students from first to twelfth grade. Grades one to three are mixed and accommodate approximately 80 male students as well. Many of the students Her Majesty visited were attending school for the first time. The faculty is compromised of 31 employees, 27 of which are teachers. It boasts a small computer lab, science lab and library.