Queen Rania Visits School in Argentina and Joins Junior Football Club for UNICEF Workshop

October 22, 2008

(Office of Her Majesty, Press Department – Buenos Aires) During an official state visit to Argentina, Her Majesty Queen Rania visited the Paula Albarracín de Sarmiento school, where UNICEF and the Ministry of Education of the province of Buenos Aires are supporting an innovative project featuring an auto-evaluation tool designed to measure the quality of education.

In her role as UNICEF´s Eminent Advocate for Children, Her Majesty Queen Rania joined by Princess Noor Hamzah, learned about this new initiative which allows teachers, administrators and families to evaluate educational practices and propose a plan of action to improve the quality of education at the school. The project is part of an initiative supported by UNICEF Argentina which aims to provide schools with evaluation tools within the framework of the National Education Law. Her Majesty Queen Rania met with the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli; the Director General of Culture and Education of the Province, Mario Oporto and UNICEF´s Education Specialist Elena Duro. Queen Rania interacted with children at the school, taking part in a social science class which centered on the importance of a child´s right to an education. The children were interested in finding more about education in Jordan and shared their vision for education in Argentina. Her Majesty Also joined some students at a class for teaching English, where she started teaching them a few words in Arabic. Towards the end of her visit, Her Majesty emphasized the importance of empowering schools.”I’m proud to be here with UNICEF, and learn about the auto evaluation project which empowers school communities”, she said. She also highlighted the fact that Argentina is about to reach universal coverage for primary school but that there are still challenges to be faced, like in her home country of Jordan, regarding high drop-out rates and inequities.  “The auto-evaluation tool allows schools to prepare its own action plans, to gain ownership, to generate enthusiasm and a commitment to improving education standards,” said Elena Duro, UNICEF´s education specialist. “The results provided by the tool, which is currently being used in 410 schools in five provinces, are used to design public policies.” Following her visit to the school, Her Majesty Queen Rania and Princess Noor Hamzah visited the Boca Juniors football club, a UNICEF partner. During her visit, Her Majesty took part in a workshop entitled “Space for Peace” and conversed with Argentinean teenagers about peaceful coexistence and education. Boca Junior´s star player Martín Palermo, UNICEF officials, the teenagers at the workshop and Her Majesty underscored the importance of education for peace-building. Joined by Hernán Lombardi, Minister of Culture of the City of Buenos Aires, Her Majesty Queen Rania and Princess Noor Hamzah ended their visit at the famous neighborhood of Caminito in la Boca, which was settled first by Italian immigrants towards the end of the 18th century. The district is most famous for its colorful houses; it is also where the Argentinean popular tango song and dance was born. Her Majesty engaged local artists in a brief chat about their artwork.