Today I got to attend the official launch of the Madrasati initiative and I have to admit, for someone who’s not easily impressed by about 98% of the things that happen in this country, I was pretty impressed. Not many people, especially in the media, knew exactly what it entailed so it was quite a surprise to see public school kids and their teachers from all over Jordan (100 represented), set up their own little booths at the Zara Center, putting the best and the worst of their school on display for all to see. The idea of the launch was to put these kids, their schools and CEOs from some of the largest corporations in Jordan, all under one roof for the purpose of school-sponsorship. At the back of the hall stood a giant yellow wall where every now and then a CEO would grace it with his signature while a golden school bell announced yet another sponsorship. It was quite interesting to see students from some of the most unfortunate public schools in the Kingdom lobby some of the biggest names in the country, at times ambushing several at a time. From Samir Rifai and Ghassan Nuqul to Fadi Ghandour and Saeed Darwazah. National educational NGO’s I’ve been in love with for some time such as INJAZ and Ruwwad were also there to lend a hand to this initiative.
The idea of Madrasati is to induce a collective spirit across the spectrum, to help better the learning environments of these schools, many of which are in pretty bad shape. The learning environment I’m referring to is that of infrastructure: including facilities, supplies, essentials as well as teacher training. Sponsorships range from financial aid and training teachers, to allowing their employees to volunteer through entwined programs such as INJAZ; it’s a way to get some of these NGO programs a way to branch out into the system. That’s what this launch was about, but what I found most interesting about the Madrasati initiative was the fact that it attempts to be comprehensive. While today focused on bringing the private sector and the public schools together, Madrasati also seeks the participation of private schools – through their fundraising, resources, and teaching infrastructure – as well as ordinary youth wanting to volunteer, and ordinary citizens wanting to donate.
The way it has attempted to integrate all these components, including other initiatives like INJAZ and Ruwwad, is outstanding, and it will be very interesting to see how well embedded Madrasati will become within the educational and corporate culture of the country. From huge corporations like Nuqul and Zain involving their employees, to private school student councils involving their students (maybe even for school credit as part of some of the international programs), all coming together to mend the broken schools of the country. You can even track the progress of all the schools through an online interactive map in the official website.
This is the kind of initiative I was hoping would emerge, because it’s not just about throwing money at the problem or (barely) implementing the vast array of plans drawn up by people who have the solution-to-everything; it’s about transforming the national culture to summon a national sense of responsibility, that addresses national problems and national needs. Because the Queen is right in this regard: education is most definitely a social responsibility.
Hopefully, when this initiative takes off and starts making an impact, the government can start working on the macro issues I’ve lamented about. And hey, if they want to start now, that would be great too.
This is REALLY amazing and creative….but most importantly, it looks like it could work. Wow.
Good stuff..But are there any measures for the outcomes? I mean how will they measure success? I know it is a long term initiative ,but, we need to see abstract goals..
kinzi: my thoughts exactly.
mohanned: i don’t have answers to those questions but my guess is it will involve a lot of feedback. each school is setting up a council that brings together students, teachers and parents (a sort of PTA with students) who do, what appears to be, much of the direct assessment in a decentralized way. i pray that it will be sustainable.
this is truly great, reading the quotes on the website and im so happy with Madrasti vision
“i want to wake up and want to go to school”
“i want to be able to experiment with science, not just read about it”
“i want my school to be filled with activities, drama and peotryy”
“wow, you want my opinion?really OO?”
you can see how bright all this is and how positively driven, way to go and indeed education is a social responsiblilty
Ok this is really interesting to me and nothing I’ve heard about before.
Since you attended, do you know if Irbid area schools are active in this program? I’m browsing the website now and can’t tell.
My dad is actually the owner of a school in Jordan. Tuition fees are rather low (village standards) and thus the school itself doesn’t generate profit. In fact he had to put money into the school on numerous occasions to update facilities and such, so the fundraising thing wouldn’t be practical. However there are public schools very close to the school and the volunteer thing could be a great idea.
Although he’s the owner he’s not too involved with student and even some administrative matters so I’m not sure if he’s heard about Madrasati, but I’m definitely passing this info on to him.
Asoom: Yes. Essentially they’ve divided (or organized) the country in to 5 geographical areas, with the first phase starting in the Amman Manucipality and Zarqa region, followed by other regions. I think I remember seeing a few schools from Irbid if I’m not mistaken.
Ok I just saw that irbid is on the school progress map, so it’s there!
On second thought the fundraising thing could work also since it’s coming from the students (and families) themselves and not from the school as a business.
My dad will be in Jordan soon, before the end of the school year lets out. I’ll try to do more than just put the idea in his head. There might be enough time to start something with the students before they let out for the summer (I don’t even know when that is).
Thanks for the post!
We are launching an exciting volunteer training program called the MOVE. Do you know of any organizations or people who would be interested in attending?
you can reach me at
We would like to work together with various initiatives, and volunteers like the Madrasati project. A year ago we started a similar project called Madrasati. We are building libraries in Jordan. We have finished one working on 3 more and our goal is to complete 20. There is a large resource of volunteers in Jordan who could really make a difference. Let’s work together! All the best! Peter van Gorder from FICS
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