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Access to schools is not a major problem in Jordan, but the quality of public education provided remains uneven. Assessments show that younger students are not mastering reading and math fundamentals or acquiring the critical thinking skills needed to succeed in ongoing education and adult life. More than half of public school students are learning in overcrowded conditions, particularly in urban areas, where the average class size is 46 (not including the tens of thousands of Syrian refugee children enrolled in Jordan’s public schools). Though literacy among all youth age 15 to 24 is nearly 100 percent, many of Jordan’s young men do not complete their education, dropping out of school due to economic pressures on families, coupled with worsening conditions in boys’ schools. Despite achieving gender parity and increased enrollment rates, Jordan’s Ministry of Education (MOE) knows it must address critical weaknesses in the school system, the quality of education and rehabilitate aging classrooms.
USAID helps to improve the quality of public education on a national scale by building the MOE’s ability to transform student learning from grades K through 12; build better learning environments through school infrastructure improvements and teacher/staff development to keep students positively engaged; and enhancing the relevance of educational programs for students so that they are better prepared for work and life in a growing economy. We continue to support the MOE’s goal of providing universal access to kindergarten.
We empower and motivate educators as agents of reform by funding a professional development plan and the tools required to implement it. We support programs that help teachers and administrators become more effective instructors, leaders and models in their school communities. USAID-supported programs address factors that “push out” boys from schooling and improve psychological and social elements in student learning environments. We also promote opportunities for youth to acquire life skills and career counseling based on aptitude and interest rather than on gender stereotypes.
Working together USAID and the MOE have developed a plan that identifies standards for a safe, healthy, caring, and engaging learning environment. We support school-based activities to achieve this environment, taking into consideration gender, psychological and social, and community-specific requirements, and concentrating on school directorates found to be in most urgent need of improvement.
USAID also contributes to building, renovating, and improving school infrastructure, focusing on fast-growing urban locations with the worst over-crowding, inappropriate rented facilities and schools handling students in shifts. Professional development for school personnel and engagement of local communities help maximize the effect of improved facilities and learning environments.
Additionally, USAID programs help alleviate pressure placed on the education system by the influx of Syrian refugees by targeting those schools most affected by the influx through: fast-tracking expansion of 15 to 20 schools; scaling up teacher training; helping to develop early-grade ready and math diagnostic tools; and supporting remedial reading and math programs.
Examples of USAID-supported impacts in education include:
- Supported Jordan’s Ministry of Education (MoE) reforms by providing 75 percent of public schools with comprehensive professional development, buildings and grounds improvements, new curricula or work skills programs.
- Provided technical assistance to 120 schools to improve the psychological and social learning environment, with evaluations to determine impacts on student achievement.
- Provided technical support to the MOE to establish a baseline for literacy and numeracy in the early grades.
- Completed the construction and furnishing of 27 new schools with enhanced quality and learning features and rehabilitation and expansion of an additional 32 existing public schools.
- Improved the learning environment for 15,000 students attending 35 new or rehabilitated schools (K through 12), and 4,625 kindergarten students in 185 renovated kindergarten classrooms.
- Completed training for 8,049 educators in leadership and development programs.
- By 2013, initiated 67 Community-Parent School Committees across Jordan.
- Enhanced the leadership, life and job skills of 59,000 youth who participated in school-to-career programs.
- Renovated playgrounds and/or provided sports kits at 70 schools serving more than 20,000 students.
Last updated: January 26, 2015