World Bank grants $120M loan to Jordan to reform education system

The World Bank has extended a US $120 million loan to Jordan to help the country with its efforts to transform its education system at the early childhood, basic and secondary levels and produce graduates with the skills necessary to compete in the knowledge economy.

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By  Massoud Derhally Published  May 11, 2003

The World Bank has extended a US $120 million loan to Jordan to help the country with its efforts to transform its education system at the early childhood, basic and secondary levels and produce graduates with the skills necessary to compete in the knowledge economy.

The integrated education reform program will seek to boost the science and math scores of Jordanian students in international exams, provide access to safe and adequate schools, provide online learning portals for primary and secondary students and increase enrolment in the second level of kindergarten.

“The Education Reform for Knowledge Economy initiative reflects the new vision embraced by Jordan’s King Abdullah II to provide the young generation the education and IT and communication skills they need to secure their economic future,” said Mae Chu Chang, World Bank lead general educator for the Middle East and North Africa.

Although Jordan made remarkable progress in providing access to education at all levels, it faces significant challenges as it continues to strive for economic and social development in the information age, said the bank. A resource-poor country, it has focused on cultivating a skilled labor force to build a competitive edge in the global knowledge economy. “Its current education system, however, relies on traditional, rote-learning pedagogy instead of analytical and problem-solving skills and teamwork demanded by the new global economy. The result has been a mismatch between the skills of the graduates and the labor market needs,” said the bank in a statement.

The bank said Jordan was responding to this challenge by making education a priority investment, and calling for a sweeping reform of the education system. “Its new policy agenda tackles the gaps in the government's capacity to transform the education system, the mismatch between the skills taught at school and those needed in the knowledge economy, unsafe and overcrowded conditions at school and the unequal opportunities in early childhood education,” added the bank.

The proposed education reform program is designed to address the priorities set out in the new policy embraced by the government of Jordan. One component of the program will support the government in undertaking ambitious reforms by improving the management, decision-making and administration of the education system. Another component will transform teaching and learning methods by developing a new curriculum and extensive use of new technologies including e learning to meet the demands of the knowledge economy.

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