By Fares Braizat, Feb 06,2022

The condescending attitude and tone of some self-described “elites” toward youth is inexcusable and, at times, morally repugnant. It reflects an inadequate understanding – there is plenty of superficial understanding – of the problems our youth are going through, especially of the poorly performing education system at all levels. 

The role of the state in education is supposed to be “enabling” and “skilling”. Sadly, the mismatch between education outcome and market needs testifies to a growing problem that has not been addressed properly yet.   

The education system – lower and higher – releases nearly 200,000 people into the labor market every year (2021 base year), and this number is expected to grow on yearly basis. The overwhelming majority is going to join the ranks of the unemployed. Together they will drive youth frustration to new heights. Yet, major reforms of the school and university education systems have not been contemplated.

Today, we are still seeing a weak response of the education system to the market needs. Some pundits are heard blaming the youth for the problems of unemployment, poverty, and drugs. The blame should rest largely with education policy planners, makers and executors over the past two decades. The outcome of their planning and execution is 50 percent youth unemployment and a similar percentage considering migrating.

When policy is driven by trivial political calculations and shortsightedness, it is inevitable to fail. That failure cannot be clearer than it is in the education sector, which needs a radical “choice-based education” reform. 

The basic pillar of this reform should be to enable parents to choose whatever schools they want to send their children to with a government-paid voucher system that gives parents the ultimate power over schools, and this should include public and private schools alike. 

School administration ought to be decentralized, too. School management ought to be led by the head master with a school council. The school council should consist of parents who have children attending the respective schools. The school and its elected council must have the power to reward and punish teachers and administrators, fire and hire teachers and administrative staff based on clearly agreed upon key performance indicators. This incentive- and performance-based system should provide the foundation for a competitive result-oriented, rather than a process-oriented, system.

The prevalence of private tutoring is a statement about the quality of education students get in schools. Parents are not supposed to be teachers at home and they should not be overburdened with extra financial expenses for private tutoring to support their children education. This practice must stop and the only way to stop it is to create a properly accountable education system. 

The layers of administrative staff can be reskilled and repurposed to serve the education in classrooms instead of accumulating reports that are not improving the education.

It is unfortunate that Jordan’s ranking in the international standards tests is not improving much. Without a major overhaul of the education system, our economy is not going to be able to compete in an increasingly science-based global digital economy, and we will have to deal with the consequences of angry, frustrated, weakly skilled – yet educated – youth.  

The writer is the Chairman of NAMA Strategic Intelligence Solutions, H.E. Dr. Fares Braizat. 

This article was originally published in Jordan News on February 06, 2022. For the original article source, click here

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *