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Switzerland and Canada give additional support to education system strengthening in partnership with UNESCO and the Ministry of Education

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Amman-12 July 2021 – Switzerland confirmed a contribution of USD 1.6 million to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) in support of the “System Strengthening Partnership with Jordan’s Ministry of Education” (SSP) programme, implemented with UNESCO technical support under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. Canada also announced an additional contribution of USD 400,000 to their initial contribution of USD 1 million.

The SSP is a four-year programme (2019-2023), supporting the Ministry of Education (MoE)’s Education Strategic Plan (ESP), focusing on system strengthening as one of its core domains. With its contribution, Switzerland joins Canada, Italy and Norway in the Multi-Partner Trust Fund to support this joint MoE-UNESCO initiative. The initiative represents a success story and contributes to the shared goal of providing inclusive quality education to all learners based on the principles of partnership, coordination and aid effectiveness in support of Jordan’s education sector.

Canada’s pivotal role as the first donor to the MPTF has paved the way for the SSP programme to support a stronger and more resilient education ecosystem in Jordan. Through an additional contribution, Canada is also reinforcing its commitment to this partnership for system strengthening. Italy joined the MPTF last year through a contribution of USD 1 million. In-kind support is also being provided by Norway (through the NORCAP mechanism) with the provision of several senior experts working closely with UNESCO and the MoE in view of strengthening capacities at the institutional level.

Today, a ceremony was held at the Ministry of Education to welcome Switzerland as a new member of the MPTF and announce Canada’s additional contribution. The ceremony was chaired by His Excellency Prof. Moh’d Abu Qudais. The Minister of Education highlighted, “both contributions illustrate the common goal of providing quality education for all in Jordan, through effective and constructive coordination with the Ministry of Education”. He also reiterated the strong commitment of the Ministry to this partnership supporting system strengthening.

H.E. Mr. Lukas Gasser, Ambassador of Switzerland, stated that “Switzerland is pleased to join Canada, Italy and Norway with a contribution of 1,600,000 USD to the Multi-Partner Trust Fund in enhancing UNESCO's support of the Ministry of Education in the implementation of the Education Strategic Plan. The start of this new collaboration coincides with the completion of Switzerland’s bilateral collaboration with the Ministry of Education to rehabilitate 89 public schools accommodating Jordanian and refugee students in various governorates of the Kingdom. Today marks an important step towards our longer-term support for enhanced governance, decentralisation and crisis-resilience of Jordan’s education system as foreseen in the Jordanian government’s Education Strategic Plan.”

In her address, H.E. Ms. Donica Pottie, Ambassador of Canada, emphasized that “the education sector was greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. But when schools closed in 2020, Jordan acted quickly to provide distance learning for children. It acted early and boldly in the face of this crisis. Going forward, this partnership further supports the Ministry of Education in the area of crisis-sensitive planning.”

Through this multi-year programme initiated in mid-2019, UNESCO is supporting the MoE in strengthening its core functions in planning and budgeting, monitoring and reporting, research and evaluation, data and information management, as well as coordination and partnership. The programme also builds on the European Union’s previous support to the development of the Education Management Information System (EMIS), which continues to be supported as a key component of the MPTF programme through the provision of specialized technical support to the MoE to reinforce their capacity to maintain, manage and utilize EMIS for evidence-based policy formulation and planning.

UNESCO Representative to Jordan, Ms. Min Jeong Kim, highlighted “what is becoming a success story in terms of alignment to Government plans, priorities and goals; joint coordination; continuous response adapted to the needs of the Ministry of Education; and in line with the Sustainable Development Agenda and Goals, particularly related to SDG4 on education, SDG 5 on gender equality and SDG 17 on partnership.”

Commending the efforts and achievements of the Ministry of Education to constantly adapt to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, she also added, “these additional generous contributions from Switzerland and Canada, together with the existing support from Italy and Norway, will further strengthen the education sector preparedness and response to crisis, focusing on the operationalization and development of capacities in risk management and crisis sensitive planning, from MoE central level, to Field Directorates and schools.”

Also in attendance at the ceremony were H.E. Mr. Fabio Cassese, Ambassador of Italy and H.E. Ms. Tone Allers, Ambassador of Norway to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and Iraq. From the MoE, the Secretary General for Administrative and Financial Affairs, Dr. Najwa Qubeilat and the Secretary General for Educational Affairs Dr. Nawwaf Al-Ajarmeh were also in attendance, alongside the Head of the Department of Planning, Dr. Youssef Abushaar, the Head of the Development Coordination Unit, Ms. Lama Al-Natour and the Director of the Queen Rania Center, Engineer Ruba Al-Omari.