Amid the rise of positive coronavirus cases, private school directors and administrators are preparing for the upcoming academic year with multiple possible scenarios for learning this fall.
The Education Ministry recently announced that education in private schools and kindergartens for the 2021/2022 academic year will be 100 per cent in class all the while adhering to health protocols.
Kholoud Abu Hijleh, a private school director, told The Jordan Times that their preparations vary from annual maintenance tasks to shaping the academic and extracurricular calendar. AbuHijleh also said that the school is preparing training workshops for teachers and planning to engage parents in the school’s community, whether learning is onsite or online.
Abu Hijleh highlighted the importance of in-person education, especially for grades one to seven. “The students need to learn in-person to get their fundamental knowledge and experience in different skills like writing, reading and speaking,” she added.
Abu Hijleh explained how online teaching is unable to achieve several goals, such as such as “self-learning”. Self-learning relies on a long process of developing students’ learning ownership inside the classroom, she said.
Parents became more involved in the learning process with the past year of online education, she said.
“Parents need to be comforted by getting an accurate and precise plan,” said Abu Hijleh.
Preparing for the school year is especially a challenge for new schools opening this fall, said Madalia H. Affouri, a supervisor of a school opening in Amman this year.
She said the school has been working for months to prepare for the upcoming year.
“We have put together a hybrid academic plan that includes both in-person and online education. We have also designed new programmes that focus on the learning loss due to the pandemic and especially on subjects like Arabic, English, math and science,” she said told The Jordan Times.
She said that studies have proven that the quality of education has worsened during the pandemic. This is due to many reasons, but importantly the loss of direct communication- one of the main pillars of the learning process.
“It is without a doubt that in-person education cannot be easily replaced and is the better choice,” Affouri added.
Affouri did highlight the importance of continuing all programmes that have been used to adapt to the pandemic, even post-pandemic.
Last week, Najwa Qubailat, the secretary general of the Ministry of Education for Administrative and Financial Affairs, and Sakher Dudin, the Minister of State for Media Affairs, stressed the students’ return to in-person education this fall.
The Ministry of Education has so far vaccinated more than 83 per cent of teachers and administrators, developed a plan to ensure students and teachers return to school in a safe environment and is in the process of training health officials in the ministry to conduct PCR tests.