(Jordan Times ) – Jordan’s Education Ministry announced on Tuesday a plan to teach its 57,000 teachers and administrators how to use computers—particularly through encouraging them to purchase their own PCs.
The ministry has a basic conviction that computer literacy [for teachers] is vital in the change process and in teaching students how to use computers [in learning],” said Mahmoud Massad, the ministry's general director for education and educational activities.
“This process can only be achieved gradually, so the ministry has thought up the PCs-for-teachers project,” he added. Massad said the ministry's non-mandatory program would try to make it easier for every teacher to buy a computer.
“We will offer to buy one PC for each teacher through contracts with local and foreign companies, and the ministry will obtain them at at least 30 percent discount,” he said. The teacher would pay for the PCs in monthly instalments of up to JD20, which the ministry would deduct from their monthly salaries.
“This means that 350,000 students, who are the sons and daughters of ministry teachers, will have PCs in their homes,” he said, adding that this would raise general public awareness of the advantages of having personal computers.
Massad said 10,000 to 15,000 teachers had already expressed interest in buying computers, and that purchasing them in batches would help the ministry gradually secure enough quality PCs.
On the same track, the ministry has begun a program to install computer labs in all of the Kingdom's schools. Massad said that 500 of the Kingdom's 4,000 schools had already been so equipped, but added that 200 schools had computer labs with outdated PCs that “can't even run new software.” He said these would be replaced with a batch of 500 computers the ministry had already received through foreign aid.
Moreover, the ministry announced on Tuesday that it planned to start a program to train English teachers to use software to teach their students. The month-long training course would enrol 50-100 teachers at 36 centers around the Kingdom.
Next year, according to Massad, the ministry will provide sixth and seventh graders with access to computers in their math, Arabic language and science classes, at least in schools equipped with computer labs.
The ministry embarked on a computer illiteracy eradication scheme in November 1999, under which teachers receive a month-long computer training course. Massad said 40,000 teachers and employees at 700 schools with computer labs had already been trained in this manner. “That amounts to two thirds of the ministry's employees,” he said.
The compulsory, free-of-charge courses offer training in Windows98, Word, Excel and Internet software — all in English. Teachers who do not pass the course will be penalised by having to pay course fees, a ministry official told the Jordan Times at the time the scheme was launched.
By Oula Al Farawati
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )