Five new state-of-the-art schools open for classes in Jordan
ARLINGTON, VA – Five new schools have been opened to children in Jordan this month, and at least three more will open for students by the end of this year. International Relief and Development (IRD) built the schools in northern and central Jordan as part of the USAID-funded Jordan School Construction and Rehabilitation Program. The program is meant to build a total of 28 new schools and renovate 100 additional schools over several years.
The state-of-the-art, multi-story schools, built by IRD with Jordanian subcontractors, meet internationally recognized standards for classroom and laboratory spaces. All school facilities are fully accessible to the disabled, with kindergarten classrooms, playgrounds, athletic fields, science and chemistry labs, libraries, and computer facilities. Schools will provide early childhood and special needs education, previously extremely limited, particularly in poor and remote areas. Many of the students who are attending and will attend the new schools have been taking classes in rented facilities, and many older schools have been forced to operate double-shifts during the school day in order to meet the growing needs of their communities.
The new schools include:
• Al Mashare Basic Girls School, North Ghour. Potential enrollment: 842.
• Hettien Basic Co. Girls School, Ajloon-Ein Jannah. Potential enrollment: 734.
• Hay Al Hussein Secondary Girls School, Al Mafraq. Potential enrollment: 972.
• Irhaba Basic Co. Girls School, Irbid. Potential enrollment: 770.
• Al Qabesy Secondary Co. Girls School, Al-Salt. Potential enrollment: 914.
• Um As Summaq Secondary Co. Girls School, Amman. Potential enrollment: 914.
• Al-Jofeh Secondary Boys School, Shouneh Janoubiah. Potential enrollment: 864.
• Al Bnayat Secondary Boys School, Naour. Potential enrollment: 1008.
In addition to providing state-of-the art facilities for students, the new schools are designed to provide space for community activities and meetings. These include meetings organized by the IRD-implemented Community Mobilization Project, which teaches parents and others to organize to help maintain and advocate for their community school. This function is especially important in remote areas, where women in particular can be uncomfortable in public roles. The Community Mobilization Project has already provided avenues for many Jordanian women to assert their needs and those of their communities in public venues.
“The eight new Jordanian schools will provide greatly expanded opportunities for students, parents, and their entire communities,” said Rula Katkhuda, IRD Operations Manager. “Parents will have a sense of ownership, and the facilities will provide space for projects to mobilize and benefit entire communities.”
Katkhuda obtained her Master’s Degree in Structural Engineering from the University of Iowa. She has worked for international organizations since 1996, including in the West Bank city of Ramallah and throughout Jordan. On the Jordan School Construction and Rehabilitation Program, Katkhuda leads a team of 25 engineers, 6 of whom are women.
“Our team embodies the possibilities available to all students who make the most of opportunities,” added Katkhuda. “It’s very gratifying to know that even in the construction of these much-needed schools, both girls and boys are learning that no profession is off-limits to anyone with the talent and drive to achieve it.”