Working to improve education in Jordan

A partnership between the United States and Jordan is expanding and repairing schools in Jordan’s underserved communities to reduce class sizes and improve accessibility and learning.

Since 2007, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) has helped build, rehabilitate and expand 385 schools in Jordan, including 322 kindergarten classrooms.

USAID’s partnership with Jordan’s Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Works and Housing also improves access to the internet and other critical learning technologies. More than 16% of students in Jordan lack internet access, and one-third don’t have computers at home.

Staff and students at schools USAID helps build have access to computer and other learning labs, as well as inviting meeting spaces and classroom technologies such as whiteboards, projectors and laptops. Facilities are designed with ramps and other features to improve accessibility for students with disabilities.

Woman sitting at desk looking at papers (Ghassan Nazmi/USAID)
Principal Rana Al-Amaireh works at the USAID-funded Khadija Bint Khuwaylid School in Tafilah. (Ghassan Nazmi/USAID)

“Safe, stimulating teaching environments motivate teachers,” said Rana Al-Amaireh, principal of the Khadija Bint Khuwaylid School in Tafilah. She has faced the challenges of crowded classrooms during her 23-year career with the Ministry of Education.

School counselor Maysaa’ Rabab’ah says technologies provided through USAID allow her to counsel struggling students individually or in group sessions for those who face similar challenges, such as bullying or poor academic performance.

In addition to improving facilities and technology, USAID’s partnership with the Ministry of Education is improving educational outcomes after the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing students’ for 21st-century jobs.

Students raising their hands waiting for teacher to call on them (Ghassan Nazmi/USAID)
Students at a USAID-funded school in Jerash have access to computer labs to improve learning. (Ghassan Nazmi/USAID)

The partnership trains new teachers, strengthens students’ reading and math skills, and encourages parental and community engagement in education.

Rabab’ah says she conducts “meetings with mothers, both on an individual and group basis, to explore the reasons behind the difficulties that the students face.”

The partnership is achieving results for students. In recent assessments, 65% to 70% of students have shown improvements in all subjects. And while second- and third-graders’ reading comprehension declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ministry’s 2022 assessment revealed a 10% improvement in reading comprehension over the prior year.

Rabab’ah attributes the success to rigorous follow-up with students, teachers and parents to address gaps in students’ learning in the classroom and at home. She also credits the facilities the USAID partnership has made available.

Student looking at book in library (Ghassan Nazmi/ USAID)
Shayma Abu Al-Shabab, an 11th grade student at USAID-funded Dhahr Al-Sarou Secondary School for Girls in Jerash, reads in her school’s library. (Ghassan Nazmi/USAID)

These facilities include a speech therapy room to assist students with speech impediments or dyslexia, as well as physics, chemistry and computer labs that provide students with opportunities for hands-on, interactive learning.

“We’ve seen incredible results since we’ve opened our doors in September 2022, so we anticipate even greater success by next year,” Rabab’ah said.

A version of this story appeared in Medium.