With a view to encourage other public and private sector institutions to follow their example, Minister Ali Al-Ghazawi announced that start of a study for the establishment of a joint nursery between public sector institutions working in Irbid to be located near the Southern Departments Complex.
During the inauguration of the "Irbid Electricity Company's Blossoms Nursery" with the attendance of NCFA Secretary-General Fadel AL-Hmoud and the chair of the company's Board of Directors Dr. Rifat Al-Faouri, Al-Ghazawi indicated that the establishment of nurseries in women's workplaces increases their participation in the economy, adding that the government's program has called for increasing their share in economic activities through the adoption of a set of measures that ensures suitable and convenient working environments.
Al-Ghazawi noted that the achievement of government directives in the area of economic participation of women has resulted in partnerships with several entities on key projects such as the "Support and Activation of the Establishment of Nurseries in the Private Sector" Project executed by NCFA and funded by Employment, Technical and Vocational Education Training Fund (E-TVET), emphasizing that the establishment of nurseries in the workplace will increase the need for specialized training and qualification programs in the area of childhood care and will create new work opportunities.
On his part, Al-Hmoud pointed out that the idea of the project implemented by NCFA aims to encourage women to take part in the labor market, indicating that the new nursery is the eleventh at the national level.
Al-Hmoud added that the project promotes a participatory approach between public and private sectors and civil society institutions in areas related to women's economic activities, noting that scientific studies show that women's participation in the workforce does not exceed 11% attributing the reasons behind this low percentage to the lack of safe places for their children to remain at during their working hours.
The expansion in the establishment of nurseries will create new work opportunities for women in the area of childhood which will be met by attracting candidates from the Civil Service Bureau, added Al-Hmoud, stressing that the stage of childhood, particularly from 0-4 years and from 4-6, is crucial in the process of building active individuals at the national, social and economic levels who will be able to keep pace with the demands and requirements of our times.
Director General of the company Ahmed Al-Theinat said that the company which has already given great care to its employees based on its belief that incentives are necessary to increasing productivity and developing services has also provided their women employees with the advantage of having their children close to them in their workplaces.
Al-Theinat commended NCFA's support and cooperation hoping that the nursery will increase women's work productivity which in return will develop the services offered to our clients. He also commended the support of the company's Board of Directors for its employees providing them with all means of comfort at work.
Eman Theinat spoke on behalf of women workers in the company and thanked the company for this initiative and the other previous incentives that were granted to them to ensure the provision of an ideal working environment away from the traditional social difficulties, a step she said will increase their work productivity.
The nursery inaugurated by the Minster and AL-Hmoud contains several facilities furnished according to international standards for child safety and health and serves around 80 women workers. The two guests toured the nursery and were briefed by the workers on the services offered within.
With a view to guarantee the quality of programs and services offered to children in the age of kindergarten and ensure institutional commitment to quality controls, NCFA released the Kindergarten Accreditation Standards document which was the culmination of cooperation with the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) and Ministry of Education.
The document comes in view of the importance of this stage in family life and the transition of the children from a limited world at home to a new life at school that includes education, programs and social relations through which they will learn new concepts that can enrich and develop their personality and mental capabilities and enable them to unleash their potentials.
The document rests on a set of key goals including the preparation of children for future to confront challenges and respond to new developments of our modern age known for its technological explosion and the worldwide interest in childhood and this age group in particular. Furthermore, it aims to develop the efficiencies and capabilities of educational leaders and workers in the area of kindergarten; advance the educational environment for kindergartens; and align local quality control standards with international ones.
Inaugurating the launch ceremony, Minister of Education and member of NCFA Board of Trustees Dr. Omar Al-Razzaz indicated that empowering children to progress from preschool to a later stage depends on the kind of care and programs offered to them and the experiments that they go through during their education. It also depends on the commitment of those involved in the process to the standards that control the quality of such programs starting from education policy-makers within the educational system to those who implement such programs.
Al-Razzaz also underlined the key role of teachers and specialists in kindergarten education and the importance of qualifying and training them to build their capacities of handling updated curricula, emphasizing the role of the community and parents in such efforts so as to enable the Ministry to meet its strategic goals and outcomes.
"There are a great deal of challenges facing the Ministry in this regard including shortage in the number of kindergartens and in other cases the difficulty of access to such facilities particularly in disadvantaged areas," said AL-Razzaz pointing out that there is a need to strengthen the quality control system which seeks to develop and sharpen the individual's capabilities enabling him/her to address challenges in new unconventional methods.
He also indicated that the Ministry has sought to increase the number of kindergartens (KG2) in public schools to 1410 classes with 29657 children enrolled, in addition to the 3038 classes in the public sector with 79348 children enrolled, noting that these figures are seen as low considering the emphasis of the national strategy for human resources on the pre-school stage through amending its legislative and institutional framework, increasing access to such facilities, improving the quality of early childhood development and ensuring that all children have access to high quality early education.
On his part, NCFA Secretary-General Fadel Al-Hmoud noted that the document will be a benchmark for all institutions to ensure quality education and services for children within the age group 4-6 years and to help kindergartens advance their programs and maintain good level of services.
The document has focused on standards that reflect all administrative and technical requirements that guarantee the development of the child mentally, physically, and emotionally, including learning and teaching, health and nourishment, physical environment, local community, human resources, management and leadership, explained Al-Hmoud.
The executive Director of AGFUND Naser AL-Qahtany emphasized the importance of the partnership between the program and NCFA which is part of the program's policy of caring for the child and mother in the Arab world, highlighting the great concern paid by Jordan to the educational sector in general and kindergarten education in particular with the support of Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania, considering Jordan as a springboard for a great deal of educational initiatives and projects which are inspirational to other Arab countries.
At the end of the ceremony which included an extensive overview of the standards, Al-Hmoud handed a copy of the report to the Minister of Education.
In cooperation with NCFA, the German Jordanian University (GJU) inaugurated a counseling and empowerment center in its campus with a view to provide students with counseling and awareness services and assist them in finding solutions to challenges that confront them during their educational path.
The center's opening comes as a translation of HM King Abdullah's directives in his 7th Discussion Paper on education in which he calls for universities to be drivers of critical thinking and factories for workforce, productive powers and laboratories which tend to discover students' potentials and sharpen their skills and abilities.
During the ceremony, Natheer Abu Obeid, President of (GJU) said that the center reflects one of the messages that the university wants to reinforce which affirms that a university student is a first degree citizen who has rights and obligations, noting that the university has the right to hold the student accountable for any violation, stressing at the same time that such accountability teaches good citizenship and respect for the rule of law and does not aim to punish but rather reform by understanding the reasons that led the student's mistake.
"This pioneering initiative strengthens the participatory approach adopted by the two parties and is a culmination of a memorandum of understanding signed last year between the two", indicated NCFA Secretary-General Fadel Al-Hmoud, emphasizing the importance of psychological counseling and awareness for students in handling their problems and modifying their social behaviors and in building a generation that can stand up to challenges and be able to create and be productive.
Since its establishment and under the directives of HM Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, NCFA has worked to promote the concept of family counseling in society, enhance both aspects of awareness (preventive and therapeutic) and provide integrated counseling services to preserve the structure and stability of the family, added Al-Hmoud.
On his part, Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Omar Shbeilat pointed out that GJU is known for its openness to the outside world through its curricula which includes a one academic year in Germany for which the center will work to deepen students' experiences and skills following up-to-date counseling and guidance methodologies to make best use of such an experience.
The center will also cooperate with NCFA to systematize the way that Jordanian laws in force are observed with respect to matters such as mental health, individual and family protection and alternative penalties, added Shbeilat.
Dr. Ihklas Ahmed from University of Jordan and the supervisor of the center said that it will provide support for the students, improve their psychological well-being, develop their personalities and help them cope with their everyday challenges including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, failed experiences and social adjustment issues through scientific methods that respect students' privacy.
The opening ceremony was attended by representatives from local and national institutions concerned with psychological counseling including Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development, Institute for Family Health, Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation, National Center for Human Rights, Jordan River Foundation, Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities, Family Protection Department and concerned university faculties.
It is to be noted that through this center GJU seeks to network with institutions such as the aforementioned to receive their technical and institutional assistance through signing cooperation agreements.