Endorsement of the Jordan Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education

Education stakeholders and partners in Jordan made a firm commitment to every child’s right to a quality education by declaring that inclusion and diversity must be the very foundation upon which education must build back better from the devastating impact of the pandemic.

The Jordan Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education was endorsed under the leadership of His Royal Highness Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al Hussein, President of the Higher Council for the Right of Persons with Disabilities (HCD), and His Excellency Prof Wajih Owais, Minister of Education (MOE), together with various national and international education partners at the High-Level Policy Dialogue “Towards greater inclusion and diversity in education for better learning outcomes” on June 26, 2022. This crucial step in Jordan’s journey towards the right to education for all was organized in partnership with UNESCO and GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The high-level event brought together over 70 officials and representatives from the Ministry of Education and other line ministries, HCD, development partners, international and national stakeholders and non-governmental and community-based organizations, who reiterated their commitment to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) by 2030 to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”. They committed and agreed to jointly advocate for and work towards putting learners’ inclusion and diversity at the heart of education post Covid-19 and to address the ‘Transforming Education’ agenda.

Over the past decades, Jordan has taken some important steps towards inclusion within the education sector. This is, in line with the government’s ambition to lead the region towards greater equality amongst persons with and without disabilities. The High-Level Policy Dialogue deliberated on the opportunities and challenges in key areas and tracks to transform education in the country. Panel discussions which brought together government officials, education and development partners, the civil society, as well as student and youth representatives addressed a wide range of education themes and issues that are crucial to move towards greater inclusion and diversity.,

The adopted Jordan Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education highlights the definition of inclusion and diversity in education and 10 groups of children most vulnerable to exclusion from and within education reached through wide national consultations in 2021. The Declaration also outlines nine areas of action to achieve greater inclusion and diversity in Jordan, specifically through system strengthening; operationalized legal frameworks; better data collection and access; improved equitable funding and sustainable programming; systematic capacity and professional development; better and safer learning environments, coordinated advocacy and planning; removing barriers and mainstreaming inclusion; and better and more relevant learning.

Ms Elisabeth Girrbach, GIZ Jordan Country Director, applauded the remarkable milestone that has been achieved today. She iterated that, inclusive education is an obligation and not a luxury, nevertheless it takes a concerted effort of all stakeholders and will not happen overnight. This joint vision and understanding reached with the Declaration on Inclusion embraces the diversity of abilities and background found among children in the schools across Jordan and makes sure no learner will be left behind.

“Inclusive education for children with disabilities is a huge challenge, I wish we had started 30-40 years ago…” stated HRH Prince Mired before the signing ceremony. “There are millions of good practices from countries that have done it before us. We must learn from them and speed up the process. We must own the problem. This is our issue. There are sceptics but we must prove them wrong. We have to succeed. These are our children. We are serious. The Ministry of Education is serious. We have the political will and ownership. His Majesty the King is very serious about this issue. We have all the elements in place. All we have to do is pull up our sleeves and get down to it. For our work to be sustainable, we have to do it, and be in the driver’s seat. We have to move forward and upwards… forward and upwards!”

The endorsement of the Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education is timely as it comes right before H.E Minister of Education’s participation in the Ministerial Transforming Education Pre-Summit taking place at UNESCO in Paris, 28‐30 June 2022. The pre-summit will provide the Jordanian delegation the opportunity to inspire other countries by sharing key milestones already achieved in the education sector. This will feed into the Transforming Education Summit to be held at the United Nations in September 2022. The Summit aims to mobilize action, ambition, solidarity and solutions with a view to transforming education between now, 2030 and beyond. “I will be proud to bring with me our commitment for action through the Jordan Declaration on Inclusion and Diversity in Education” said HE Prof Owaiss in his closing remarks.