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New curricula completed for first, fourth grades


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — The National Centre for Curriculum Development (NCCD) on Tuesday said it had finished developing new science and math materials for the first and fourth grades.
During a press conference held at the NCCD, Director Ruba Bataineh said 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.  
Bataineh said Harper Collins won the tender, and described the company as the second largest publication house in the world with over 200 years of experience in authoring and developing curricula. 
When asked about why the centre chose to work on the first and fourth grades, Bataineh said that these are “core grades”, but the goal is to work on all curricula for all grades during the next three-years. She added that science, English and math curricula will be developed with Harper Collins, whereas the rest will be developed locally.
The NCCD will work on the English curricula during the academic year of 2020, and "each year more grades will be included in order to include all grades from kindergarten to the 12th grade".  
All the books are being authored and developed in accordance with the centre’s established guidelines and standards, which makes it easier to manage what needs to be included, achieved and taught to students in each and every grade. 
The new materials aim to help students use their skills of analytical and critical thinking, which are key to success in the 21st century, Bataineh said, adding that the overall goal of developing new curricula is to shift from the traditional method of learning towards a more dynamic curriculum where learning does not end with books. 
Bataineh said: "The new books use methods that connect science to life and the students' environment, which is why the material is going to include two books for the first time; a textbook and an exercise book."
"For the first time, Arabic numbers will be adopted for teaching instead of Indian numerals which were used in the previous books," she said, adding that this aims at helping students prepare for higher education from a younger age. 
She also said that 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. 
The centre's budget is very limited, which is why work is done in cooperation with specialised national committees, comprising university professors, academic experts and public and private school teachers, in addition to members of the curricula management department at the Education Ministry, according to Bataineh. 
"The community needs to stop believing that the written word is the ultimate way of gaining knowledge in the sense that there is a book for each subject that needs to be completed and memorised wholly.
"The new material 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," she said. 
The director added that there is an ongoing debate about having students return their textbooks at the end of each academic year and only keep exercise books, which could potentially save millions of JDs when they are redistributed the next year. 

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