Abdalla Ababneh
Ahmad Al-Tweissi
Emad Ababneh
Khattab Abulibdeh
National Center for Human Resources Development

Overview of Education System

Jordan’s education system aims to prepare citizens, equipped with various skills, to achieve their aspirations, meet the challenges of the future, and achieve wider benefits for individuals and society. The Jordanian education system has become an example of progressive change that many countries in the region wish to emulate.

A central principle of Jordan’s educational policy is centralizing the general planning and monitoring of the education system while decentralizing its administration.1

Within the Ministry of Education, the Board of Education determines the curriculum, and the Ministry’s divisions for monitoring, finance, and inspection have responsibility for auditing the school system.2,3

The Ministry of Education provides high quality curricula, textbooks, and teacher manuals that meet international standards. These materials include improved content and form, emphasize critical and creative thinking as well as problem solving skills, and link content to life experiences. The materials also help students apply information in their academic and everyday lives, as required by the present era of technical and scientific progress.

Jordan’s education system consists of the following cycles:

  • Kindergarten—A two year cycle beginning at age 4, kindergarten includes preschool and is noncompulsory. It aims to create a suitable environment for children and offer them balanced education opportunities.
  • Basic Education—A 10 year cycle comprising Grades 1 to 10 (ages 6 to 16), basic education is compulsory and aims to achieve general education goals, preparing citizens personally in all aspects of life. In Grades 8 to 10, students are tracked and enroll in different types of lower secondary education based on their marks.
  • Secondary Education—A two year cycle comprising Grades 11 to 12 (ages 17 to 18), secondary education is optional and aims to prepare citizens equipped with various capacities and skills, particularly in specialized cultural, scientific, and vocational skills that meet the existing and anticipated needs of Jordanian society. This stage consists of two main streams: the comprehensive (academic and vocational) secondary education stream and the applied secondary education stream. The comprehensive stream is based on a common cultural basis and specialized academic subjects and culminates in the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination. The applied stream provides students with vocational education and training that enable them to join the labor market directly after graduation.

Educational statistics indicate that the number of students enrolled in schools in Jordan in the 2014–2015 scholastic year was 1,846,963.4 The net enrollment rates were 59 percent in kindergarten, 99 percent in the basic cycle, and 77 percent in the secondary cycle.

The Ministry of Education has plans to expand and improve the quality of preschool education and to encourage the private sector to establish kindergartens, indicating the importance the Ministry attaches to preprimary education. The Education Reform for the Knowledge Economy project is a government-supported effort to transform the education system at the early childhood, basic, and secondary levels in order to produce graduates with the skills needed for the knowledge economy. One component of the project promotes learning readiness in early childhood education and emphasizes targeted approaches to improving the availability and quality of early childhood learning opportunities. The project contributed to the implementation of a comprehensive approach to improving the scope and quality of essential early childhood services.5,6

The Ministry of Education has established a number of kindergartens, particularly in remote and underprivileged areas, in order to achieve the following goals:

  • Provide children with an adequate educational environment and care for well-balanced educational growth
  • Help children acquire positive attitudes toward school for a smooth transition from home to school
  • Develop good health practices
  • Improve children’s social relationships
  • Enhance children’s positive attitudes and love for school life

Languages of Instruction

Arabic is the official language of Jordan and the main medium of instruction. English is used and spoken commonly in public and private schools in Jordan. French is the medium of instruction in some private schools.