Two agreements were signed on Monday with UNESCO and the Swiss and Canadian governments to support the Education Ministry's Institutional Strengthening Programme through the UN’s Multi-Partner Trust Fund, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
The Swiss government signed the first agreement, contributing $1.6 million, according to Swiss Ambassador in Jordan Lukas Gasser and UNESCO Representative in Jordan Min Jeong Kim.
The Canadian government signed the second agreement, which made an additional contribution of $400,000, according to Canadian Ambassador in Jordan Donica Pottie and the UNESCO representative.
Education Minister Mohammad Abu Qudais chaired the signing ceremony at the ministry, in the presence of the ambassadors of Canada, Switzerland, Norway and Italy.
During the event, Abu Qudais highlighted the cooperation between Jordan and the governments of Norway, Canada, Italy, Switzerland and UNESCO, praising their support for the education in Jordan.
The minister also highlighted the funding contributions of the Swiss and Canadian governments to help provide quality education for all Jordanians through constructive coordination with the Ministry of Education, emphasising the ministry's commitment to this partnership.
He also highlighted the Italian government’s contribution to the UNESCO Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support the System Strengthening Partnership with Jordan's Ministry of Education programme.
He pointed out that Canada was the first country to join this fund with its $1 million donation in 2019, followed by Italy in 2020, also with a $1 million donation. Norway has also provided in-kind support since 2019 by providing senior experts to strengthen the institutional capacities of the ministry, according to Abu Qudais.
Concluding his speech, the minister thanked all contributors to the UNESCO Multi-Partner Trust Fund, which supports the efforts of the Ministry of Education in achieving its goals.
Gasser praised the strong relationship between Switzerland and Jordan, stressing that the signing of the agreement is evident of Switzerland's commitment to supporting education in Jordan.
He indicated that this agreement follows the two country’s work to rehabilitate 89 public schools that serve Jordanian students and refugees throughout the Kingdom. This represents an important aspect of Switzerland’s long-term support to improve the governance, decentralisation and flexibility of the educational system in Jordan, in line with the strategic plan for education, he added.
Canada’s ambassador to Jordan highlighted the pandemic’s significant impact on the education sector. Pottie noted Jordan’s quick response to provide distance education for children, describing it as an “early” and “bold” step in the face of the crisis.
The UNESCO representative in Jordan indicated that the Kingdom’s educational achievements are consistent with the government's objectives and response to the Ministry of Education’s needs. Kim also cited how these achievements coincide with the Sustainable Development Agenda’s goals, especially in regard to the fourth goal related to quality education, the fifth goal related to gender equality and the seventeenth goal related to partnership.
Kim praised the Ministry of Education's efforts and achievements to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that the contributions from Switzerland and Canada, in addition to the current support from Italy and Norway, will help strengthen the education sector's preparedness and crisis response.
The "System Support Partnership" programme with the Ministry of Education in Jordan is to be implemented over the course of three years (2019-2023), with the aim of supporting education in Jordan.