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October 18 2021 3:56 PM ˚

Hopes, concerns surround official return to face-to-face education

Parents and teachers recently spoke with Jordan News about what they expect going into a school year amidst the pandemic. (Photo: Jordan News)
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AMMAN — In light of the upcoming return to school next month, the student advocacy group, Thabahtona, stated in a recent press release that the government had not succeeded in providing a framework for students to return to schools safely.اضافة اعلان

The ministry previously released their “The Safe Return to School Guide for the 2021/2022 school year.” However, the group took issue with some points in the guide.

Specifically, Thabahtona noted that the government has decreased the amount of space between students in the classroom, from 2sq.m in the previous protocol, to 1sq.m this year, as long as the number of pupils in each classroom does not exceed 25 students.

The statement added that this reduction has aided private schools’ return to full-fledged face-to-face education, while hindering public schools, which typically have more students per class.

“Each classroom in a public school will have 25 students and these schools have large classrooms that usually accommodate more than 40 students. As a result of the transfer of large numbers of private school students, the number of students in one class can reach 65, but now they will only accept 25 students,” said Fakher Daas, general coordinator of Thabahtona, in an interview with Jordan News.

Daas added that because of the enormous number of students in public schools, those students will be forced to attend in-class education on a rotational basis, which means that the student in public schools will attend part-time and students in private schools will attend fully.

“As a result, there is discrimination based on class and inequality among students,” Daas said.

“The Safe Return to School Guide for the 2021/2022 school year aims to provide a safe and healthy environment for students, and it includes preventive measures, and the guide was prepared in cooperation with the Ministry of Health to ensure the achievement of a safe and healthy educational and learning environment in all educational institutions, ensuring the safety of our students and educational staff,” Ahmad Masaafeh, the Ministry of Education spokesperson and director of public education, told Jordan News.

“The process of transferring students between private to public schools is continuing, and the Ministry of Education has plans on how to deal with the number of enrolled students in public schools,” Masaafeh said.

Moreover, the spokesperson added that the number of students transferring from private to public schools poses a challenge, but there are also students who transfer from public schools to private ones. “We hope that this academic year will be a face-to-face education (experience). Furthermore, our schools are the pinnacle of commitment to all preventive measures,” he added.

A teacher at a public school told Jordan News that it is safe for students to return to face-to-face education, provided that a student who has come in contact with someone infected with COVID-19 does not attend school. She also said that the guide is fair and suitable for public schools.

Some parents agreed. "I believe in the measures taken in The Safe Return to School Guide, as it applies the conditions of social distancing in public schools,” said Haya Yaser, a mother of three students who attend public schools.

She added that these measures will help students return safely to school. “Students have to return to their schools because online education was ineffective,” Yaser said.

On the other hand, many parents told Jordan News that they are not aware of the new instructions, and they expressed an obvious concern towards the new school year. “We will wait until the face-to-face education starts to see what will happen,” a parent said.

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