Traditionally, education in the Middle East has been based on outdated models that favoured rote learning and conformity over innovation and adaptability. A key challenge in preparing the region's youth for the future is finding ways to nurture the creativity and skills that will best help them compete in a global economy.
The Jordan Education Initiative is an innovative programme created to explore how technology can be effectively used to encourage innovation in teachers and students. It involves the development and implementation of six e-learning curricula in one hundred pilot “Discovery Schools” around the country.
The new curricula use technology and the Internet to engage students with the material in new ways, create learning strategies that are research and project-oriented, and get students involved in shaping their own education. In addition to improving education for Jordan's students, JEI is building the capacity of Jordan’s ICT industry for the development of innovative learning solutions, through local partners who are creating the educational software.
Overall, the secondary goal of JEI is to create and test an efficient public-private model for the acceleration of educational reform in developing countries. In 2007, JEI's steering committee institutionalised the programme as a centre of excellence to support Jordan's commitment to education reform, and it continues to work on developing its curricula and exploring new ways to improve teaching and learning.
JEI was born at the 2003 meeting of the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea, as a public-private partnership between the Kingdom and Cisco Systems. Today, JEI has more than 200 partners from the government, nongovernmental and private sectors. It is funded jointly by private organisations and the government of Jordan, which are contributing $15 million and $5-$6 million, respectively. Partners include:
- Government entities, including the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Information and Communications Technology,
- Local and international nongovernmental entities
- 17 global corporations
- 17 local private-sector entities