April 18, 2008

King Support Madrasati initiative

The Madrasati launch attracts major corporations, community organisations and representatives eager to assist some 100 schools in desperate need of repair (Petra photo)

AMMAN - (JT) His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday offered JD3 million in support of Madrasati, a bold initiative that partners the public and private sector for the restoration of neglected public schools.

Under the leadership of Her Majesty Queen Rania, Madrasati was launched on Tuesday at an exhibition that brought together major corporations, community organisations and representatives from 100 schools in desperate need of repair.

The long-term plan seeks to rehabilitate at least 500 schools and should directly benefit some 165,000 students in the next five years.

It is the latest in a series of projects led by the Queen to restore and equip the Kingdom’s schools to create more inspiring learning environments.

The Monarch’s support is in line with several initiatives over the past few years which include the construction of new schools, winter coats for children and heating to upgrade the education sector.

Other leading contributors include Abraj, Mawared, Saraya Al Qabidah, Zain, and individuals including the Bouchmaoui family and Saeed Darwazeh, all of whom Her Majesty expressed appreciation to at the launch.

A list of supporters and funding figures should be announced at a later date, according to organisers.

Meanwhile, at Tuesday’s launch, which was designed to encourage the private sector to foster their own communities at the grassroots level, students and teachers displayed photos and urged donors to support their cause.

Some students at the event told The Jordan Times their schools resembled prison facilities with metal mesh boards covering broken windows, concrete play areas with towering walls and locked science labs with no equipment.

Mohammad, a ninth grader from a school in Hay Nazal, said he loves chemistry and physics but does not expect to benefit much from his school days.

“We don’t even visit our lab because of broken equipment. How am I to absorb what I read in books if I can’t experiment?” he asked.

He described his computer class as a race for seats, with 5-6 boys jockeying for the use of one computer, knowing they may not get their turn before the bell rings.

Lama, a nine-year-old student attending a school in Qwaismeh, hopes next winter her school will have kerosene to power their new heaters that sat unused this year.

The national scheme will require the cooperation of the public and private sectors, civil society and academic sectors and already incorporates 12 main partners including the Ministry of Education, the Jordan River Foundation and the Greater Amman Municipality.

Organisations and individuals interested in building a better future for Jordan by enhancing children’s learning environments can join.

For more information on the initiative, visit: http://www.Madrasati.jo or call 0800 22 866.

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