Jordan has introduced education reforms designed to invest in the country’s youth, who form the majority of the population. It has improved school buildings and transformed education programs. Ministry of Education statistics for 2009-2010 show that Jordan has 3,371 public schools, 2,140 private schools, and 174 UNRWA schools (for Palestinian refugees). UNICEF statistics show that the literacy rate for young people (15-24 years) was 99 percent between 2005 and 2010.
In its report Education Strategy 2006, the ministry said that some Jordanian families, especially lower-income households, still do not believe that early learning is as important as higher-level education; this attitude arises from their lack of awareness, the small number of kindergartens, and the high cost of enrolling children in these centres.
Public figures show that about 20 percent of GDP is spent on education. Jordan’s government has evaluated all of its development strategies, including that for education. This has focused the authorities’ attention on the need to reorient the educational system and improve its quality, efficiency, and equity. With the help of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the government designed a comprehensive education strategy to, among other things, improve teachers’ qualifications to offer education appropriate to the knowledge economy, upgrade public schools, and provide equal access to pre-school. The Education Reform for the Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) achieved most of its targets, including 164 education-reform projects programs; 85,000 teachers trained on International Children’s Digital Library software; 942,000 students benefiting from improved school buildings; 2,822 schools connected to online-learning portals; 84 percent of primary and secondary students using online-learning portals; 87 percent of students having access to safe and adequate primary and secondary education facilities; and 52 percent enrolment in the second level of Kindergarten (pre primary school), compared to 41 percent in 2003. About 80 percent of Jordan’s schools are connected to the Internet; 93 percent of Kindergarten teachers have been trained on the University of Wisconsin program Working With Young Children; there has been a 37-percent increase in qualified Kindergarten teachers with bachelor’s degrees and certification; there has been a 46-percent increase in fully equipped Kindergartens; and 29 percent of teachers now use the Internet, an increase of 15 percent from 2004.
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