Jordan will make preschool education obligatory at the age of five as of September 2020. Educators and parents have welcomed the move, saying it will greatly improve the performance of students and help create new job opportunities.
By 2021, Jordan will make preschool education obligatory at the age of four. Jordan's Prime Minister, Omar Razzaz, said the move is meant to strengthen the performance of students, adding that Jordan will be the first to make take such steps in the region.
He noted that all studies indicate that the ages of four to five are the most important years for children to learn.
Jordan's Labour Minister Nidal Batayneh said the government would create 315 kindergartens inside public schools in 2020, according to a press statement by the ministry. The kindergartens will be built in partnership with the private sector and charities and will also help create jobs for young women.
Renad Khaldoun, a teacher at a private kindergarten, said children interact and learn many skills at the ages of four and five.
"Many of the students at KG1 are learning new skills. Some of them speak basic English sentences and are able to express themselves," Khaldoun told 7Dnews.
"Making kindergartens obligatory is a great step as many families are unable to send their kids to private kindergartens," she said.
Baha Abu Dayyeh, a father of two, also welcomed the move.
"I agree with the decision to make education compulsory from the age of five… it would be good for children to be exposed to an environment outside their house. My children were enrolled in the public school at the age of six, and certainly it would be better to start school earlier," he said.
"There need to be teachers who are competent enough to deal with this tender age in order to discover their talents and what they enjoy and help them capitalise on them."
Areej Hassan, a teacher of Arabic at a public school in Amman, expressed excitement at the plan.
"I believe the most important thing is that children will have better communication skills and will have stronger personalities when they interact with their peers at that age," he said. "I teach 3rd and 4th graders, and they have problems with reading and writing… learning at an early age will certainly help make a difference."