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    01-Aug-2019

Curriculum set for overhaul as rote learning takes back seat

 

The Jordan Times

 

AMMAN — The Kingdom has embarked on a five-year plan to restructure its curriculum in a way that sees traditional teaching methods give way to those that focus on critical thinking.  
 
"The world is advancing quickly with the education techniques and so are we. We are looking for a dynamic curriculum that would help our students reach a new level with their education," said Director of the National Centre for Curriculum Development (NCCD) Ruba Bataineh.
 
Speaking during a meeting with the press at the Prime Ministry on Wednesday, Bataineh noted that the first curriculum overhaul targeted science and math books for KG pupils as well as first and fourth grade students.
 
"Math and science are the most rapidly developed subjects worldwide and that is why we started with these two subjects," Bataineh explained.
 
Bataineh added that the main objective is to have "our students ready for the future jobs, especially in these two important fields".
 
"We also aim to help students become more analytical and creative rather than memorising the material they are learning at school. In other words, we want them to remember what they studied at school," Bataineh stressed.
 
The new material, she added, will teach students values and skills that will help them in dealing with others in life as well, because academic achievement is not enough when a person cannot express themselves. 
 
The next step is to gradually work on other school textbooks until "we cover all the school textbooks that are being used by our students during their time at schools", Bataineh said.
 
The Education Ministry has issued an official decision that approves the new curricula, all of which will be under constant revision in order to be updated through feedback by educators and specialists, she added.
 
The NCCD director told reporters that five international companies competed over the tender to develop the material, which will start being used in September for the 2019/2020 academic year and that the British company, Harper Collins won the tender.
 
"Harper Collins is the second largest publication house in the world with over 200 years of experience in authoring and developing curricula," according to Bataineh.
 
In April 2017, the NCCD by-law was published in the Official Gazette opening the way for the centre, which is financially and administratively independent, though connected to the prime minister, to accomplish its goals of improving the curricula, school textbooks and exams in accordance with modern best practices and the Kingdom’s needs. 
 
To achieve its goals, the centre is tasked with reviewing and improving the curricula and the evaluation system in preschool, primary and secondary grades, based on the Jordanian educational philosophy within the religious and national context.
 
Key performance indicators for curricula and the evaluation process will be improved by the centre, in coordination with the concerned authorities, with a focus on education results for students in each level and by training teachers and enabling them to deliver the subjects. 
 
All school textbooks will be developed by the national centre and will be reviewed by the education council of the education ministry, with any changes then officially adopted in accordance with the law. 
 
Academic experts have said in the past that the current school curriculum fails to teach coexistence, tolerance and respect for others.
 
The experts said that school curriculum lack or neglect critical thinking in philosophy, logic and the arts.
 
The experts recommended textbooks promote the values of tolerance and acceptance of others through “teaching art and music and drama classes, in addition to producing animated films where heroes are moderate, tolerant and accepting”.
 
 

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