USAID-built inclusive schools inaugurated in Karak, Aqaba

aqaba schools
(Photos: USAID)
AMMAN — Minister of Higher Education Wajih Owais and Minister of Public Works and Housing Yahya Kisbi last week inaugurated four USAID-built public schools in Karak and Aqaba.اضافة اعلان

The US agency gave a $350 million grant to build 25 such educational facilities that stand out through their enrolling of students with disabilities.

Twelve schools are ready to welcome students, the other 13 are expected to be completed before the end of the year.

Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin, who accompanied the ministers and media representatives on the tours Tuesday and Wednesday, expressed pride in the achievements, said the endeavor “is not only USAID; it is a strong partnership with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Public Housing”.

Built to US specifications as far as safety and accessibility for children with disabilities are concerned, the schools may be replicated elsewhere in the Kingdom, she said.

“We are committed to continuing to work with the government of Jordan on expanding this module across this country.”

Two schools were inaugurated in Karak: Thania Basic Mixed School and Mu’ta Basic School for Boys, and two in Aqaba: Al-Amal Inclusive School, and Al-Tasea’ Basic Mixed School.

By building them, the Ministry of Education is hoping to solve the problem of overcrowding and double shift systems public schools have witnessed since the pandemic started.

Some 223,000 students shifted from private to public schools due to the economic hardships brought about by the pandemic, which brought the number of public school students to 2.12 million in Jordan.

Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education for Technical and Financial Affairs Najwa Qbailat told Jordan News that the USAID schools help the ministry solve the issue of overcrowdedness, get rid of rented buildings, and “provide a supportive environment through their labs, playgrounds, and libraries”. 

The new school buildings, which make use of modern technology, are both nurturing students’ creativity and successfully integrating disabled students.

“The school changed a lot of things, but most importantly, it broadened the students’ horizons and our energy, as teachers; our performance has changed, so did the students’, now we have many things we did not have before, and we are taking advantage of them,” Raida Elian, teacher at Thania Basic Mixed School, told Jordan News.

Al-Amal School principal Salam Majali told Jordan News that the new inclusive school “is great because it empowers hearing impaired students and strengthens their personalities”.

The USAID schools include theaters, science labs, vocational training labs, computer labs, playgrounds, and multipurpose rooms, according to the Ministry of Education’s Director of Buildings and International Projects Ibraheem Al-Samamah.

President of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone (ASEZA) Nayef Bakhit, who toured Al-Amal School, told Jordan News that the “qualitative transformation from the old school building to this creates broader horizons that will enable the local community to be in touch with their young ones”.

Kisbi told Jordan News that the USAID school project does not only benefit students, parents, and teachers, it also provides an opportunity to train and employ fresh engineering graduates who can benefit from “the new building code that was established with the help of USAID”.

“These schools are made to take in students with different kinds of disabilities, so all the building mechanisms and equipment are made to suit all kinds of students, which is different from what it used to be,” he said.

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