Letter to students on the occasion of the new scholastic year, 2012-2013

From King Abdallah II of Jordan
To Jordanian students
On the occasion of the new scholastic year, 2012-2013
02 September 2012
Translated from Arabic

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Compassionate,

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon His Hashemite Prophet Mohammad,

Sons and daughters of our dear Jordan,
Students, teachers and all members of our country’s education family,

It is a pleasure to address you on this special day on our noble homeland’s  calendar, as you return to your schools in towns, villages, badia and camps, renewing your mission of giving and enriching the process of building and developing our dear Jordan.

On this occasion dear to the hearts of every mother and father who watch their children grow up, we hope for the best beginning, inspired by God’s word on education and learning: “Read in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, who created man, out of a mere clot of congealed blood. Read! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful. He Who taught the use of the pen, Taught man that which he knew not.”

On this day, I voice my pride in students and teachers, reasserting my continuous support for you, the makers of the future. With your determination and giving, the fruitful process continues, in line with a national approach to education and a matrix of thought and moral values that has made Jordan a regional model, strong of its unique good people and their ability to overcome difficulties and address challenges with perseverance and creativity.

Today, as we are experiencing transformations at the national level, which we embrace with awareness and confidence, I address your hearts and minds, as you are the cornerstone of society. Change and revival are achieved with you, through you and for you.

One of the constants in the approach we follow is our keenness on empowering the youth. We are blessed with a young society and we have worked hard to utilise this edge to build and develop society relying on human resources as the basic element in the positive change to which we aspire. We are aware of the importance of Jordan’s effective contribution to human civilisation, which requires that you master the most up-to-date tools of technology in a way that enables you to keep up with advancements, and harness these tools in the service of your precious country and the whole of humankind.

One of the most significant aspects of the empowerment we seek for the country’s youth - male and female students - is the entrenchment of democracy, dialogue and intellectual pluralism as high values embraced in schools, with the aim of producing generations that respect diversity, debate in the best and most gracious ways, accept different opinions and understand the importance of persuading others of their views through effective communication.

Your role as students, teachers and educators is to transform Jordan’s school environment into a small community where students are encouraged to accept the values of democracy, absorb them, believe in them and exercise them through school elections and class debates. Democracy should accompany our students from their schools to their homes and be passed on from a generation to the next. This is the way to achieve the reform we envision, by promoting a culture of democracy and diversity of opinions in society. In this respect, we see school parliaments as a promising experience, on which we rely to educate students on the art and discipline of dialogue and teach them to accept and respect diversity of viewpoints. We see this as a way of political education, so that students can in the future embrace their political choices and take part in building their country with confidence, knowledge and experience. 

Dear students,

The expectations we have from you cannot be fulfilled without the hard work and conviction of your dedicated teachers, who carry a noble message. I call upon them to instill in you the values that build a brighter future: The value of believing that justice, equality, participation and responsibility are the basis of good citizenship and the value of doing good, because people are judged by their deeds, and by what they give to the country, rather than what they take from it. This translates into voluntary work that strengthens the bonds with the community and boosts the spirit of entrepreneurship, which turns challenges into opportunities through self-reliance, creativity and innovation.

As part of our relentless efforts to improve the quality of education and its outputs, we have issued directives to hold a specialised national conference dedicated to education development. Participants, who will include all parties concerned with the education sector, are expected to come up with an action plan to achieve comprehensive education reform, which is the catalyst of society’s welfare, and address the challenges facing the sector, building on the remarkable achievements made in past years.

We hope that all parties concerned with education, including the Teachers’ Association, which emerged as one of the early positive social and intellectual transformations reflecting our vision for comprehensive reform, will pay due attention and give priority to efforts aimed at improving the quality of education and its outputs and entrenching a matrix of moral values that will cement the envisioned democratic approach.

Dear students,

Jordan may lack plentiful natural resources, but its real and renewable resources are your bright minds and your giving. You are the future generations, source of hope and key to success. Through you and with you the country grows and our people’s dreams and aspirations for a Jordan of democracy, responsibility and leadership come true. We owe you full commitment to working for and supporting the education process and improving its outputs through partnership. We will spare no effort to take the education environment to the highest levels, in line with international best practices.

We pray to God to make the beginning of the new school year an occasion to renew a process of distinction and creativity that is heading towards wider horizons, so that you can efficiently take part in building your country and serve the message of your nation, as it contributes to human civilisation through valuable knowledge and dedicated work. God willing, you will rise to our expectations.

Peace and God’s mercy and blessings be upon you,

Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Amman, 2 September 2012