According to Michael Trucano from the World Bank, Jordan is one of a handful of countries to watch. “Efforts have been made in numerous countries to replicate and adapt the model behind the innovative public-private partnership driving the forward-looking Jordan Education Initiative, perhaps the highest profile initiative of its kind among developing countries – and one of the better evaluated ones”.
Not surprising then to see the Jordan Education Initiative winning a UNSECO prize for excellence in the use of ICT in education in 2009.
But what exactly is the Jordan Education Initiative and what can we learn from it?
The Jordan Education Initiative (JEI) is one of several education initiatives run by the World Economic Forum, others being the Egyptian Palestinian and Rajasthan Education initiatives.
The JEI has the following objectives:
- Improve the development and delivery of education to Jordan’s citizens through public-private partnerships
- Help the government of Jordan achieve its vision for education as a catalyst for social and economic development
- Accelerate of educational reforms in developing countries by unleashing the innovation of teachers and students through the effective use of ICT
- Build the capacity of the local information technology industry in partnership with world class firms
- Build a model of reform that can be exported to and replicated in other countries.
The JEI has 17 global corporations, 17 Jordanian entities, and 11 governmental and non-governmental organizations all working together to achieve these objectives, in partnership with the Government of Jordan. Commercial partners include Micrsoft, Intel, Cisco, HP, Tribal, iEARN and World Links.
This PPP enabled JEI to improve learning for 80,000 students, via 3200 teachers in 100 “Discovery Schools”. Each Discovery School is fully networked; Internet connected and has access to computer labs and online content.
Jordan participated in PISA for the first time in 2006, and found that scores for Maths, Science and Reading were higher in the “Discovery Schools”. Whilst these differences could potentially be caused by other factors, it’s reasonable to conclude that the initiative is having an overall positive effect.
Key learning from the JEI includes:
- Never lose focus on education
- Ensure the technology is scalable
- PPP is the backbone with clear roles and responsibilities for each partner
- Strong governance and organizational structure
- Correct scale of program
- Monitoring and impact assessment is critical
- Communication and PR plays a role
- Change management vs. training
(The World Economic Forum)
McKinsey and Company published an analysis of the JEI in 2005, and concluded that effective global-local, public-private partnerships should have the following key elements:
- Clear vision and objectives, powerfully articulated in appropriate forums
- Attractive governmental, social and geo-strategic conditions
- Motivated partners, whose interests are aligned with initiative, providing sufficient inputs
- Programme activities that leverage appropriate partner competences
- Well-supported coordinating mechanisms
- Consistent monitoring and evaluation
- Effective governance to set strategic direction and align partners.
(McKinsey & Company, 2005)