From today’s Jordan Times on Jordanian students:
Habashneh said one can hardly find a school or a college student who is interested in reading a book or attending cultural seminars, calling for finding a new approach to encourage dialogue and communication with young people in order to enrich their cultural knowledge.
“We need to adopt a comprehensive national and cultural approach, away from the political dimension and regional problems. The government should focus on a new mechanism capable of making the younger generation more interested in culture rather than being involved in tribal or regional affiliations,” he added, suggesting more cooperation between the ministries of education, culture and higher education to introduce extracurricular activities in schools and universities where students can interact.
Actually that is not the solution to the problem. The problem is the system of education that hardly encourages participation, critical thinking and analysis but is more focused on memorization and tests. At the end of the day we have to deal with the core of the problem which is the education system especially in public schools. Yes, Jordan has one of the highest literacy rates in the Middle East but we need to examine the quality of education. The problem with the system is that many Jordanian children grow up, go to college and once they are in college they are surprised when they have to analyze or are asked to think critically. I have heard this not only from students but a Sociology professor at one of Jordan’s most prestigious universities. When he asked the students to write what they think during an exam, many of the students had memorized what the professor had said in class and the professor was surprised to find that almost all the exam papers looked the same. He thought the students had cheated but in fact they did not. He realized that those were his own exact words.
I feel strongly about this subject. Sometimes you have to change a system that is broken and decayed. The system itself becomes the elephant in the room and you cannot continue washing the elephant, brushing the elephant and putting hair clips on its ears to make it look pretty. The bottom line is there’s an elephant in the room.