A return to safe in-person learning - an indescribable feeling
24 August 2021
“I was counting the days to return to in-person learning.” says Raneem, 16.
As we entered Madaba Secondary School for Girls in central Jordan, sounds of girls filled the hallway. The girls are excited to return to in-person learning, while adhering to the national COVID-19 safety protocols.
The school is the oldest girls’ school in Madaba, serving adolescents from Grade 9-12 who are residing in Madaba city and its surrounding area.
“I graduated from this school in 1995,” recalls Nisreen Al Khdoor, School Principal, Madaba Secondary School for Girls.
“It is different now. Students have more and better facilities, more opportunities to share their views, and there is more community engagement,” adds El Khdoor.
As we entered the Grade 10 class, we felt the positive energy of the girls and saw their eagerness to be back-in-school.
“I have no words to describe how I feel today,” says Raneem, 16. As a Grade 10 student, Raneem who comes from a large family of 12, is the first in her class. “I was counting the days to return to in-person learning.”
In Jordan, over 2 million students are enrolled in schools. The vast majority, about 1.6 million students, half are girls, are enrolled in public schools. To ensure their return back to safe schools, the Ministry of Education put in place safety protocols to protect students and school faculty.
“It is fantastic to see students returning back to safe schools,” says Gemma Wilson-Clark, Chief Education, UNICEF Jordan. ”Nothing beats in-person learning, especially for girls.”
According to a recent study, Jordan stood among the 19 highest countries in terms of highest number of days of full school closures. Between March 2020 and February 2021, students in Jordan lost 148 days of full school closures.
“Thanks to the Government of Jordan, especially the Ministry of Education for re-opening schools safely,” says Wilson-Clark. “By educating every child in Jordan, we can better prepare children and adolescents for life, future work and active citizenship.”
A clean and safe school environment brings girls back-to-school
As the oldest girls’ school in Madaba, the facility needed rehabilitation, especially the water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.
Based on the needs, and with funding from the Government and People of Japan, UNICEF Jordan renovated 14 latrines, 12 handwashing taps and built one water and sanitation facility for children living with disability. UNICEF Jordan also held awareness raising sessions on the importance of good hygiene practices including menstrual hygiene management and supported adolescent girls’ climate change clubs.
“I am no longer skipping class, “ says Raneem. “I feel at home when I use the bathroom, especially that soap and water are readily available to wash my hands.”
Securing proper water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for students is critical, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It helps students to adopt good hygiene practices that prevent the spread of the virus and promotes good practices.
“They taught us about the importance of using water wisely, and now I am teaching my younger twin sisters Jana and Ghina who are 12 years-old,” says Raneem.
As a member of the Climate Change Club, Raneem and her school mates are raising the awareness of their neighbourhood’s peers to the importance of safeguarding the environment.
“We educate other adolescents about the importance of water conservation, planting trees, and recycling to reduce the impact of climate change,” adds Raneem. “I hope to become a blogger in the near future to continue to influence people and to secure a better and healthier environment for all children to come.”