Outstanding teachers honoured, urged to lead ‘renaissance’

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AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Tuesday honoured the winners of the 2016 Queen Rania Awards for Excellence in Education (QRAEE) and urged them to lead the sector’s change.

During a ceremony on Tuesday, held at Al Hussein Youth City’s Palace of Culture, she called for collective effort by all education professionals in order to strengthen the Kingdom’s learning landscape, a statement from Her Majesty’s office said.

Her Majesty presented prizes and certificates to winners of the 11th Teacher Award, and the second cycle of the School Counsellor Award.

In her remarks, the Queen underscored the critical role of teachers in the development of education across the Kingdom, explaining that “development requires substituting methods of the past with those compatible with the needs of the future”.

Progress in education involves training teachers before and during their employment, she said, calling on teachers to lead an “educational renaissance” from within their classrooms, and to invite their communities to be part of this process.

The event came less than two months after Her Majesty launched the Queen Rania Teacher Academy’s pre-service professional training programme.

In her remarks, she said that a “teacher’s light” has the power to break through the stockpile of challenges, including the financial, social and logistic, explaining that “those with us today have been able to devise solutions out of sheer need and despite great challenges”.

“They have proved that there is still room in those packed classrooms for innovative solutions and creative ideas,” she added.

Queen Rania stressed that despite the pressing need for an upgrade in Jordan’s educational system, “we maintain our principles and identity, while advancing the sciences and our knowledge”. In this scope, the Queen explained that textbooks should become a partner and a reference for teachers rather than a hindrance, limited by rigid style and wording.

Her Majesty said she is baffled by those who do not wish to advance and develop Jordan’s education, adding that her appreciation grows “for each exceptional teacher and for anyone who stands by teachers and supports them”.

Describing teachers as the “heroes of this country”, the Queen said: “Nothing can match the greatness and nobleness of your work, no measure of gratitude gives justice to your patience and dedication, and no joy is equal to the joy I feel when I see the smiles before me today, which will continue to fuel my drive to keep championing on behalf of teachers.”

As QRAEE’s chairperson of the board of trustees, Queen Rania awarded 23 teachers and 5 counsellors at the ceremony, which was attended by more than 2,000 people. The winners went through a competitive process and were selected from a pool of 1,609 teachers and 147 guidance counsellors.

Winning teachers and counsellors received monetary awards of JD3,000 for first place, JD2,000 for second place and JD1,000 for third place.

Also speaking at the ceremony was Minister of Education Mohammad Thneibat, who said that the time has never been riper for welcoming change, overcoming setbacks and turning challenges into opportunities.

Thneibat said the ministry is working with the association of QRAEE to capitalise on the strengths of previous awardees and identify areas that need improvement in Jordan’s education system, in order to create a competitive culture of excellence in all of the ministry’s directorates.

He added: “We are aware that there is no road to success that is clear of obstacles, and there are no obstacles if there is determination and willpower to implement a vision.”

The event also featured opening remarks by Director of QRAEE Lubna Touqan, short films and a performance by Jordanian musician Hussein Al Salman.

Launched in 2005 by Their Majesties King Abdullah and Queen Rania in partnership with the Ministry of Education, QRAEE aims to set a national standard of excellence in teaching, and to celebrate, encourage and honour those who reach it.

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