Save the Children and Partners Launch National Campaign to Support Kindergartens in Jordan

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Save the Children in partnership with the Ministry of Education, USAID, the Greater Amman Municipality, Jordan River Foundation and Ro'ya TV launched the National Campaign to Support Kindergartens (KGs) to increase KG enrolment from 59% to reach all children in Jordan.

The campaign, which started in early January and is scheduled to conclude by the end of March, aims to raise parents’ awareness of the importance of KG and to increase the participation of youths and community sectors to support KGs. In addition to raising awareness among parents, the campaign aims to engage youth and other segments of society in supporting kindergartens. The campaign will carry out various activities and events with the support of civil society actors including partners and the media.

At the launching ceremony, Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat said one of main reasons behind the academic weakness of some children in the first three years of primary school is that they did not have an opportunity to access early childhood education.

A year of early childhood education will be added to the compulsory education plan over a five-year period starting from underprivileged areas, at an expected cost of around JD160 million, according to the minister.

“The ministry will organise a national awareness campaign on the importance of preschool across the country,” Thneibat said at the launching ceremony.

In remarks late last year, the minister cited a 2012 study which showed that some 100,000 students in the first three grades are incapable of reading Arabic or English letters.

Alia Arabiyat, director of the childhood department at the Ministry of Education, said at the launch that the campaign invests in early childhood — a very rich learning stage.

“The national campaign will create an interactive national curriculum for the KG level, in addition to developing training programmes for KG teachers,” she added.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, 85,463 children were enrolled in 1,060 public and 1,556 private KGs across the Kingdom, Arabiyat noted.

Yet, not all children get to have that advantage.

“We need an additional 814 KGs in the northern governorates, 1,840 in the central region and 214 in the south in order for all preschool stage children to be able to enrol in KGs,” she said.

Muna Abbas, the Early Childhood Education Component Leader for the Education Reform Support Program, which is adopting the campaign, said a number of supportive activities will be announced to the public.

“We seek to change the rigid concept of learning… by practising methods of learning by playing,” Abbas said.

Lee Cohen, Foreign Service Officer at USAID, said the agency and the Education Ministry have been able to achieve “phenomenal progress” in a short amount of time.

“We have gone from 15 KGs in the Kingdom to over 1,000,” he said, warning that the country is still facing “an early childhood education crisis” since 40 per cent of all children do not attend KGs.

Cohen noted that children who attend preschool go to college “far more often” than those who do not, urging institutions and organisations to invest in early childhood education as it is the “best investment” they can make.

“If parents don’t fundamentally believe in the power of early childhood education, we can build a thousand more KGs and it will not make a difference,” he concluded.

Click on this video to learn more about the national campaign to support kindergartens.