- Community Empowerment
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Queen Rania's Remarks during the Teacher Education at the Crossroads Conference
Everyone remembers a teacher they had at school who inspired them.
Everyone remembers a teacher who gave them confidence.
Everyone remembers a teacher who opened their eyes and convinced them they could be anything they wanted.
That’s why this, the first Teachers’ Education Conference in Jordan, is so important… because a good teacher will help you pass your exam, but a great teacher will help you surpass yourself.
So thank you to Columbia University’s Teachers’ College, and the World Bank for bringing us together. Your advice, expertise, support, and commitment are already proving priceless in reforming our curricula and classrooms.
I also want to thank all of you here for showing such dedication to the teaching profession… for having the vision and courage to change what it means to be a teacher in Jordan today.
Teachers are pivotal to the prosperity and promise of our families… our country… our region.
Reports tell us that teachers and teaching are “the most important influences on student learning… while teacher quality is the single most important school variable influencing student achievement.”
And beyond teaching history, science or languages, teachers guide our children… shaping the attitudes, skills, and values they will use in the world beyond the classroom.
At the Teachers’ Awards in Aqaba in December, Gr.4 student, Maram Ibrahim, explained to us how her teacher ‘planted hope in her class’, and made her and her classmates ‘love studying.’ Enas Jamal, a Gr.5 student, revealed how her teacher ‘went beyond the text books in order to encourage them to think openly.’
We need more students like Maram and Enas, who are inspired by their teachers.
And, across the Arab world, there are signs of improvement and much to be proud of... from Yemen waiving tuition fees for young children to Egypt creating more girl-friendly schools to Morocco targeting literacy programs at disadvantaged populations.
Then there’s Education City in Qatar, home to top-class branch campuses …or the Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum Foundation in Dubai, investing $10 billion in teacher training, scholarships, research grants, and youth leadership development.
But so much more needs to be done. A regional transformation is desperately needed.
Let me give you a few examples why:
The Arab region, of 330 million people, earns fewer patents than Luxemburg… doesn’t have one university in the world’s top 200… and a quarter of our young people are unemployed – a total equivalent to the entire population of Syria.
They enter the job market ill-equipped to pass an interview or start a business.
Why? Because our schools are failing to prepare our students. They learn to listen, not question… make the safe decision, not the risky one… rely on old ideas, not think beyond them.