Thousands of students transfer from private to public schools

schools school
(File photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — Ministry of Education figures show that some 200,000 students moved from private to public schools since the COVID-19 pandemic started, a clear indication of changing priorities, as people resort to saving whatever money they can for fear of the coming days.اضافة اعلان

This year, official figures show that the ministry accepted over 15,000 students who moved from private to public schools.

“All of the 15,000 students accepted this year were accommodated through a directive to the Directorate of Education via a two-shift school system; 30 schools changed to a two-shift system (morning and evening) for this year. In addition, the ministry had rented, and is in the process of renting, more than 20 school buildings and entered into possession of a number of new school buildings,” ministry spokesman Ahmad Al-Masa’afa told Jordan News.

He added that “there are about 18,000 students still on the waiting list”.

Besides resorting to two shifts, and renting or acquiring more schools, “4,000 new school teachers have been hired for the new school year, and 6,000 temporary substitute teachers are to be appointed”, he said, adding that the ministry “hopes to accommodate all remaining students this coming week”.

According to Masa’afa, one major challenge the ministry faces is duplication in registrations, which makes it harder for the ministry to assess the accurate number of students that have transferred from private to public schools.

“Some parents have registered their children in multiple schools to get a better chance of having a seat secured. Therefore, it will take some time to get an accurate and comprehensive statistical number of accommodated transfers and waiting list students,” he elaborated.

Masa’afa said that “the ministry asks parents to cooperate with us so we are able to absorb all the numbers of students transferring to public schools. Some parents want their children in specific schools, rather than in those in geographical proximity to their residence, for different reasons, like the school reputation”.

Head of the Syndicate of Private School Owners Munther Al-Sourani told Jordan News that “last year, the percentage of transfer from private to public schools was higher than usual”.

“According to official figures from the Ministry of Education, more than 240,000 students transferred from private to public schools. This has resulted in the drop of operational capacities of private schools to more than half,” he said, adding that, “as a result, some schools have suspended teaching and closed other schools.”

“Expenses have become a huge financial burden on a founder of a school, especially if he has rented buildings whose prices range between JD40,000 and JD100,000, in addition to the accumulation of teachers’ salaries and other costs, such as social security fees and taxes, without feasible financial return,” he said.

Regarding the scholastic year 2022–2023, Sourani said that indicators point to a “positive and active year in the sector, albeit not at the same levels it used to be prior to the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Firas Nasserallah and Maram Abu Al-Shem, who are parents to four daughters (students in elementary and high school grades) said that their decision to transfer their daughters from private to public school came during the pandemic, when learning was conducted online.

“Since all learning was remote, we decided to reduce costs. The decision was truly financially based.”

“We noticed that the quality and seriousness of teachers in the public schools was even better. We felt that teachers in the public school were really cooperative and responsive,” the mother said, adding that “teachers communicated with parents through WhatsApp groups and they follow up with us intensively.”

“We sense that the teachers have a real interest in the quality of education our girls are receiving, whereas in the private school, things were more lax,” she added.

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