International Day of Persons with Disabilities
A call for renewed collective commitment towards Inclusion and Diversity in Education in Jordan
Amman – On the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which takes place on 3 December every year, the Ministry of Education (MoE), the Higher Council for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (HCD), the GIZ- Promoting Quality in Inclusive Education (PROMISE) in Jordan Programme, and UNESCO reaffirm their commitment to continue in their efforts to promote an inclusive learning environment that embraces the diversity among all children and youth, including children and youth with disabilities.
According to a recently released report by (UNICEF), nearly 240 million children worldwide, or one in 10, live with disabilities and face challenges in their right to access quality education and learn jointly with their peers due to discriminatory social practices, a lack of educational policies and strategies, stigma, inadequate physical infrastructure, and curricula.
Throughout the past years, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan made great strides towards fulfilling its commitments towards Inclusion and Diversity in Education. Within this framework, and with support from GIZ, the MoE and HCD, in the presence of national and international partners, launched the 10-Year National Strategy for Inclusive Education (IES) for 2020-2030. The IES was designed in line with the national Law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities No. 20 for the Year 2017 and the global Sustainable Development Goal No. 4 that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote life-long learning opportunities for all.
Inclusion and Diversity in Education can empower children and youth with disabilities and their families and enable them to realize their right to quality education and learning. It can provide them with a safe learning environment, equipping them with the required skills and knowledge to grow independently and play a productive role in their communities.
Jordan is working on an ambitious plan that calls for continuous collective action at school, community and institutional level. The MoE, HCD, GIZ-PROMISE Programme and UNESCO are joining hands to ensure that all learners’ needs are addressed, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, gender, background or circumstances. Children and youth should be supported to develop their individual potential so no one is left behind, excluded from or within the education system. We are joining hands to make sure that all children and youth, particularly children and youth with disabilities, can enjoy their right and access to quality inclusive education.
Making Inclusion and Diversity in Education a reality in Jordanian schools will not happen overnight – it is a process that demands the dedication and collective commitment from institutions, teachers, principals, parents, pupils and the whole community, alike. Together with the MoE, HCD and UNESCO, the GIZ-PROMISE programme has begun supporting 18 primary and secondary public schools in Marka, Ajloun and Al-Karak through which further inclusion and diversity in education, as well as innovation, will be piloted, focusing on strengthening systems and capacities that can be replicated across the Kingdom.
Furthermore, GIZ and UNESCO will support the MoE and HCD in developing comprehensive capacity development approaches and tools, to benefit teachers and other education personnel. Fostering innovation, inclusion and diversity in education, through targeted trainings and mentoring at national and sub-national levels, will contribute to better equip teachers with the required knowledge and competences to manage their classroom and the diverse needs of children and youth.
A national awareness campaign is currently being designed and developed. Several activities will also target Disabled Peoples Organizations (DPOs) and parents through community engagement activities to raise their awareness and strengthen their knowledge on Inclusive Education.
Since the initial outbreak of COVID-19 last year, children and youth in Jordan were heavily affected, with the situation being worse for children and youth with disabilities. MoE, HCD, UNESCO and GIZ-PROMISE Programme acknowledge that inclusion is a process; a long journey that requires time and concerted efforts to bring about long-term change and impact. They also believe that the time has come to collectively join forces to design and build effective and sustainable measures towards an education system and a society embracing inclusion and diversity throughout Jordan.