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 ملف خاص بتحقيقات القسم الاجنبي لصحيفة الدستور حول قضية المعلمين - الصحفية منى عواد Teachers’ association and the Ministers’ slip

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تاريخ التسجيل : 28/12/2010
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مُساهمةموضوع: ملف خاص بتحقيقات القسم الاجنبي لصحيفة الدستور حول قضية المعلمين - الصحفية منى عواد Teachers’ association and the Ministers’ slip   الإثنين يناير 17, 2011 4:16 am

هذه مجموعة من التقارير التي نشرت في صحيفة الدستور - القسم الاجنبي - منذ بداية حراك المعلمين 18-3-2010 ولغاية بداية عام 2011
Teachers’ association and the Ministers’ slip
Just like all other professional sectors of Jordan’s society, teachers are suffering from a bad and
deteriorating financial and social situation with low salaries, high prices and more; however,
as an exceptional case, teachers in Jordan, unlike all other teachers around the world, are still
deprived, officially, from their right to establish a professional association to unite them, speak
out for them, provide them with financial supports and defend their rights.
Although this issue remained controversial for years, causing a continuous conflict between the
society and the succeeding governments; the newly launched battle on the issue ended up with a
semi-war in the Jordanian society.
The official refusing position to the establishment of an association for teachers goes back
to the sixties of the past century; the first and last Jordanian Teachers Association (JTA) was
established during the fifties and was dissolved by an official decision in the sixties during the
period when freedoms in Jordan were witnessing a retreat; after all those years, although other
professionals were allowed later on to form their own associations, almost 150 thousand teachers
in Jordan remain until this day the only sector not allowed to form an organizational body.
After failing to improve their bad living situation, teachers made their first attempt in the
nineties to call for their right to form an association, as freedoms and democracy in Jordan
were considered to be improved. In 1993, teachers collected 68 thousand teachers signatures
and raised them with a memorandum to the parliament; however, the Higher Council for
the Interpretation of the Constitution (HCIC), which is the committee with the power of the
constitution and law, considered the request unconstitutional.
“Reading the teachers’ situation, the democracy Jordan is said to be experiencing is actually
a fake one; as long as the state has the right to select and decide who is allowed to enjoy this
freedom and prevent certain groups from being part of it, then it is actually not a real freedom;
it’s still a state-controlled speech and activity.” Mr Hikmat, a former teacher and an academic
commented to The Star.
Once again, teachers are now going through their second national attempt to regain their right
to form an association; last month a Preparatory Committee Calling for the Establishment of a
Teachers Association (PCTA) was formed to follow up this issue.
Spokesperson of PCTA Sharaf Abu Rumman said to The Star “teachers have no option but
reviving their association, as long as the budget of the Ministry of Education (MoE) lacks
to meet our living ambitions, our social image, and our qualification am training abilities;
especially that all teachers cannot find until now a logical reason for prohibiting their
association.”
HCIC’s decision said “establishing an association for teachers opposes the nature of the teaching
profession and is inconsistent with the Constitution; teachers are considered public employees,
which means that their loyalty and organizational background should only be to the state.”
For the past 3 weeks, PCTA called on all teachers around the Kingdom to hold meetings to
discuss future mechanisms; in response, Minister of Education Ibraheem Badran, revealing the
state’s fear from politicizing education, announced that “not establishing a teachers association
goes back to professional and legal reasons; associations all over the world are formed on
political basis and ideological approaches; our ministry cannot allow the students to be subject to
different political stances that exist in the associations due to such situation’s negative reflections
on the core of the educational process.”
For his part, analyst Fahed Khitan, said “we have other professional associations in Jordan,
and they’ve been politicized since their establishments and yet this did not distract their role
in defending their professional rights; the Engineers Association (JEA), which includes almost
the same number as teachers, and it has never caused any threat towards the state’s security and
stability although it is politicized.”
President of JEA, Abdullah Obeidat, condemned the Minister’s statement on the associations’
political approaches as if they have no role in society or in supporting their members
although “the associations have rescued thousands of members in light of the failure of the
government’s economic and social policies.” According to Obeidat.
Khitan added “in the developed countries, there is no professional sector anymore without
an association; associations have even become more active than parties as they form the main
bridge between the society and the government and their absence actually indicates an imbalance
in the relationship and leads to unhealthy results.”
Badran added “Teachers will search for support from political forces which will ruin the
objectives of education; another reason is that an association will not suit the requirements
of the daily educational process, if the association called for a strike, for example, this will
negatively effect students; teachers cannot be compared to other professions as the 3 parties
of the educational process are students, teachers, and the government unlike other professions
where the relation would only be between the members of an association and the association
itself without any effect against the goals and spirit of the working process as would happen
in the case of a teachers association where the students will be the victims of any negative
circumstances.”
For his part, Abu Rumman assured that the state’s fears are not built on solid logics. “We want
an association in order to regulate our profession, and not politicize it; a teacher would, through
the association, gain his full rights which would urge him then to conduct his full duties.”
In agreement, Jordanian teachers have different things in their minds than the state is focusing
on; Mazen Khatib, a teacher, said “teachers are in need to improve their economic situation; an
association would deduct a percentage from our salaries to invest; without an association there is
no way to improve our living conditions and provide a decent early retirement.”
Another teacher, Maamun Hamed, referred to other associations’ success in supporting their
members financially; “the existing associations have created a capital that enabled them to invest
for the benefit of their members; such assistance cannot be provided by MoE; on the contrary the
image of the teacher is rather becoming worse in society as a result of teachers’ social, economic
and educational situation.”
Another teacher, Ensaf said “how can the state doubt our loyalty and love for the country while
we teachers are the ones who build the inside of all people in this country.”
Badran referred to the Ministry’s efforts to create an alternative for teachers to compensate their
loss of having an association.
“There is no role made by an association that the Ministry cannot achieve; for this reason, the
Ministry formed clubs for teachers all over the country in order for them to find a free platform
where they can express their opinions, suggestions, and demands with regard to any issue related
to their professional and educational lives; in addition to that, the Ministry is currently working
on the implementation of the second stage of the educational development project which focuses
on the methods to improve the professional level of teachers and provide them with a free and
decent living.”
However, teachers believe that neither the government was able to allocate a sufficient budget
for their benefit, nor the clubs played the role that teachers were hoping for.
“Let us not go too far, for two weeks in a row, as we intended to hold a joint meeting inside
our ‘free’ clubs in order to revive the idea of the association as a demand sought for by most
teachers, the clubs closed their doors in our faces, undoubtedly by the Ministry’s decision, and
everyone witnessed that we held our meetings on the streets near the club; is this the platform
available for us to freely express our opinions? This is not to mention the very bad financial
situation we have been suffering for years without any attention made by the government to
change that.” Bassam Atieh, a teacher member of PCTA said to The Star.
Not allowing the teachers to hold their meetings inside the teachers club in Amman for two
Saturdays in a row was considered an official response by MoE to the teachers attempt to revive
their association; a step after which most teachers threatened to withdraw from the membership
of the club.
Abu Rumman said to The Star “this act made the teachers feel that MoE dealt with them in an
offensive way; specially that they’ve always felt that the club was theirs and for their service;
this had built a relation of enmity between both sides and closed all doors in front of dialogue;
instead closing the club’s doors in the face of teachers, the Minister should have tackled the
dangers of the teaching profession’s reality and adopted teachers’ views and spoke on their
behalf.”
Secretary General of MoE Fawwaz Jaradat assured to The Star that the club closed due to an
event that took place inside the club at the same time. “The event was planned before ahead;
teachers can go to the Ministry itself and speak with the Minister on the issue of the association;
the Ministry’s doors are always open for its partners, teachers and students.”
PCTA members however, assured that MoE made the event on purpose; it therefore decided to
form branches in all governorates to continue coordination until they reach the establishment of
an association.
In another context, observers and analysts believe that the problem exists in the fact that MoE
views JTA as an institutional body including 150 thousand teachers, which would form a
pressure on the Ministry’s decisions.
Educational expert, Nizam Mahdawi, told The Star “in light of the current political and regional
conditions, the state is afraid party forces would control and dominate the educational sector and
politicize it and of course the reflection of that on the students who can be formed and influenced
according to the teacher’s visions and thoughts.”
Mahdawi pointed out however that this is not an accurate calculation of the issue. He said “the
state’s position in this term is not quite right because in Jordan, even the political forces and
parties are not active enough to make any influence; they can all be controlled and monitored
anyways.”
MP Ali Dalaeen, head of the education committee in the dissolved parliament, said “the lower
house had long made strong efforts to support the establishment of an association for teachers
but the efforts each time were faced by a governmental refusal; and always for the same reasons
determined by the HCIC, but we cannot understand how engineers and doctors not only can join
but are even prohibited to practice their profession unless they are members in an association and
teachers, on the other hand, cannot form one.”
Observers assure that there is no legal text that opposes the formation of an association. Former
President of the Lawyers Association, Saleh Armouti, tolf The Star “there is no constitutional or
legal article that prohibits the establishment of such an association; and what proves that is the
existence of associations for other professions, and this is according to the constitution; actually
the government’s decisions are rather unconstitutional because the constitution itself says that
Jordanians have this right as long as they seek legal objectives; in addition to that, refusing
teachers’ demand, is a violation to the International Declaration of Human Rights.”
Armouti added “the government’s stance is based on political reasons not legal ones; although
teachers’ main goal is finding an umbrella to defend their rights and protect them.”
Khitan explained the situation saying “when JTA was dissolved in the sixties, it was internally
facing party conflicts and the government used these conflicts as a reason to dissolve it; but now,
time has changed, teachers are not like they were before, their priorities changed, their concerns
have multiplied, and the educational sector faced deep turning points; now they have different
dreams and ambitions.”
“If the government of Samir Rifai overcame the traditional stance of rejecting the establishment
of an association for teachers and opened a dialogue on this issue with the founding members far
away from the fears that are keeping us behind development, this government will strongly enter
into history.”
Mansour, a member of PCTA, said “we will continue calling for this right through legal and
constitutional channels until the dream comes true.”
Abu Rumman also said “the Ministry does not have the authority to decide on the establishment
of an association; we are making efforts addressed to HCIC to revise its decision; we are not
even addressing the Ministry.”
In a totally unexpected follow up to the issue; a statement made by Badran during one of his
comments on the issue exploded a new crisis between the teachers sector and the Minister
and the government as a whole; Badran was quoted saying “teachers should take care of their
appearance and shave their beards before demanding to establish an association.” A statement
which was considered by teachers humiliating to the Jordanian society as a whole and not only to
them.
After this incident, teachers in the southern governorates went on strike and suspended their
classes calling on Badran to resign immediately; and this was the second crisis by which MoE
creates a conflict between sectors in the society and the government after the Secondary Exams
Scandal.
The anger did not calm down after Badran officially apologized saying “my words were removed
out of their context; I meant that the teachers should be models for their students in all fields
including appearances; and if my words were misunderstood, I apologize.”
Abu Rumman however, assured that the continuing strikes have no relation with the demands
for forming an association. “The statements have distracted us away from our main demand for
an association; PCTA issued a statement calling on teachers to resume their classes as we don’t
want students to be victims of this conflict.”
At the same time Abu Rumman said that the teachers’ reactions are not surprising in light of
their situations and pressure; “It was not that easy for us to influence the angry teachers to stop
their strikes; we have warned before from the bad situation of teachers which created a state
of pressure among them that has exploded now which is understandable in light of their bad
conditions; the Minister should resign to calm them down after insulting them.
President of the Association of Private School Owners, Munther Sorani, also believed that the
current state of disorder is a result of the Ministry’s refusal to the teachers’ demands from the
first place in addition to its lack to fulfill many of their rights.
After the statement, the threats made previously by teachers to resign from the teachers club
became reality as a number of teachers withdrew in protest against Badran’s insult; while
teachers in the governorates assured they will resume striking until an association is established.
Teacher Mohammed Mansur told The Star “they were afraid a real association would call for
a strike among teachers; teachers are now saying that they can go on strike with or without an
association; and here they are striking until they gain their rights.”

Teachers want association, not allowance
Muna Awwad – June 7, 2010

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تاريخ التسجيل : 18/03/2010

مُساهمةموضوع: رد: ملف خاص بتحقيقات القسم الاجنبي لصحيفة الدستور حول قضية المعلمين - الصحفية منى عواد Teachers’ association and the Ministers’ slip   الأربعاء يناير 19, 2011 3:05 pm

thank you>>> Muna Awwad

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ملف خاص بتحقيقات القسم الاجنبي لصحيفة الدستور حول قضية المعلمين - الصحفية منى عواد Teachers’ association and the Ministers’ slip
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