The (Coca Cola) Solution To Our Education Crisis

The government may brag about how great education is in Jordan compared to the wonderful Arab world, always ready to quote our high literacy rates, but every Jordanian is aware of the disastrous situation of our educational system. From lack of teachers, all of whom are under paid and many of whom can be deemed unqualified, to the tawjihi system, to the crumbling walls of public schools all over the kingdom. And so on and so forth.

The source of the problem in my opinion can be broken down into two categories: one, is the unwillingness for the Ministry of Education (or government for that matter) to admit there is a problem in the first place, thus an unwillingness to do anything about it, and two, a lack of resources being diverted into the education sector.

It wasn’t until today when I opened up the Jordan Times that I saw an alternative to the crisis. The Coca-Cola Bottling Company set up a 300,000JD e-school project.

“…which is equipping 16 schools in the Kingdom with computers and providing the necessary training to English and maths teachers. The company has opened four training centres in the country for this purpose.” [Jordan Times]

So lets privative the public school system. Math books sponsored by Lays. The computer departments run by Coca-Cola, which of course will be in direct competition with Pepsi who’ll run the science departments; the former vying to produce the best computer engineers to leave the latter’s scientists in the dust. Future software engineers educated by Microsoft. Economics taught by Citigroup and future writers and poets educated by Random House Publishing.

Teachers salaries paid for by Mercedes, including a car.

A McDonalds renovated public school with a giant golden arch on every one.

A KFC Zinger Supreme for every student, every day.

Tommy Hilfiger uniforms.

Flat screen TVs by Sony.

Millions and millions of JDs pouring into the education sector. Companies instilling a sense of Darwinian corporate competition, where students and teachers are best of the best and the ones who were bound to fall through the cracks anyway, well they’ll be guaranteed a decent blue collar job at one of the sector’s extravagant sponsors.

What do you think?


  • IT would be lovely, Though then again the number of people failing grades will increase and i wouldn’t blame them either
    Why would i want to leave all those sponsored amenities behind and go to college ?!

  • one more thing Nas. the regime is good at media-friendly campaigns. meaning, they know how to launch projects with all the fanfare and ribbon cutting and celebrity hype. But when it `comes to sustaining and delivering results, they fail with flying colors. Remember the computer in every school project? well, they did deliver lots of computers. guess what. what an abject failure this project turned out to be. of course this is not a problem for those who got rich off of this hyped-up campaign. now, you have mostly worthless computers, ill-trained teachers, overworked teachers who will not touch this, stolen equipment, malfunctioning equipment. it seems the regime has perfected communist-era propaganda, until one day, just like the USSR, our sponsors will wake up to the painful truth that many of our human development projects are scams to enrich the powerful few, who undoubtedly pass the blame to their minions.

  • Nas,
    My sister got a Ph.d and was not able to get a job in university, and guess how much she gets in the ministry of education under the patronage of his majesty mr toukan:400JD. I read alot about toukan and why he is still in his postion after all the scandals that he had in “his ministry”, but to be fair my sister worked on the new currilca for the KG level and man I tell you, It was unbelievable, the quality was great, they focused on allowing children to think beyond the book..But still if the IAF knew about the books which by the way is not ready yet, I am sure they will say that this “kofor”..Any way I went off topic, but what you mentioned above happens everywhere nas, the companies simply wants to look “caring about the community”, it is just advertising in a new way, I am sure each computer will have a sticker saying drink coca cola:)

  • As salaam alaikum.

    There is a real failing in public education generally here in Canada leaving home schooling or private schools as the options.

    I am a Canadian Muslim writer. Come by insha’Allah if your up for some reading.

    Ma’as salaama,

    nuh ibn

  • mohannad, you have a phd, your sister has a phd, dr ababneh has a phd. well, my cat has a phd, my grand grand grand grand father has a phd, my mechanic has a phd. wow, so many phds.

  • Xy:
    Sad thing that your cat has one and you don’t, right? Don’t feel sad but some people have ambitions and some people just like to stay as they are, this the nature of things. And the topic is education which means that there is no business for you here..

  • Not a lot of Jordanian companies can donate that much every year? Even several millions won’t be enough..we need much more!

  • thank you all for the comments.

    i’m not sure how to categorize it.

    in part it is meant to be a satirical criticism of our government’s failure to reform public education. almost 19% of the budget is devoted to education so the high expenditure is there but i don’t see an actual physical impact.

    and in part, perhaps a very small naive young-me part; it is a wondering if public education isn’t really better off in the hands of private industries.

  • Well spotted Nas.

    I’ve always despised Corporate Social Responsibility just for the sake of publicity.

    Apparently in this case, Coca Cola issued a press release announcing its donation which got carried by PETRA and which all the dailies must run as well.

    But when I think of all the have nots and the good it can bring them, I think well .. why not? Let Coca Cola or any other company get more publicity and let the kids get a better education.

  • No I don’t have a phd just MD: D
    I guess you just like running your mouth. Go play with your cat you’ll look smarter.

  • I think this would be a good idea if the sponsoring only stopped at the money; meaning, the foods of the sponsors should not be allowed in the schools, multiple studies show the relation between healthy eating and student achievements, the better the food the better the students.

    They are trying really hard in the US to remove the Pepsi/ coke, the burgers etc etc from the cafeterias. It’s a really big issue there and a big fight to get the “Sponsors” to remove their products.

    So if the sponsors only had adds in the schools and not there products, great, I am all for it.

  • 7aki,
    I am seroius with this: Obesity is why they are doing this in the US, but JORDAN el wlad melt3an abu aboohom, mesh mlageen yokloo, let them put some “EXTRA” weight:D
    Sad but true!!

  • Mohannad: no no , they had this special program were they took kids that were having trouble studying and getting good grades and gave them non junk foods , and after I don’t know after how many months of supplying them with good food there grades increased and they did better in school. There was a whole documentary on it.

    But I agree, the food would be a plus for poor kids in Jordan.

  • Nas, interesting topic. it is good to have extra money in our education system but if 19% of the budget is for the education we already have the money, so maybe we need to change something in our mentality and in the way our teachers look towards teaching. because if the teacher was not honest and loyal he’ll not make better students. look at education students in universities and you’ll find most of them had chosen it because their grades in tawjihi didn’t allow them to chose something else and another thing the book wont teach the kid to think beyond the book you need the teacher for this.

  • moa: i agree with everything you said, there are various sources of problems to the education crisis in jordan. but when I talk about privatization, I’m not merely looking at the amounts of money pouring in but also the management, something the private sector is a lot better at compared to any government.

  • Hi Nas,

    I like your sarcasm. I am against sponsorship and donations, but taking a closer look at the education system, i would say what the hek give them a try they might help a small minority or bring a small change somewhere!!!

    Yes we need total and immediate reconstruction, but this will not happen in a day. and needs to be on going project.

    Keep you fingers crossed, some change will come by one day 🙂

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