In the last decade, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has made a substantial commitment to improving the quality of its public education system. The main vehicle for this work has been the Education Reform for Knowledge Economy (ERfKE) initiative. To date, key investments have been made in early childhood education, school infrastructure, technology, and curriculum development. The emphasis has been placed on the development of skills essential to Jordan's emerging knowledge economy and the use of technology both as a skill set and a delivery platform for the new curriculum. The second phase of this initiative, ERfKE II, which is underway at this writing, is focused on improving the quality of teaching and learning. The primary challenge facing Jordan is the improvement of the quality of instruction provided by the current teacher work force. Thus, a major priority for ERfKE II is the provision of high quality in-service training for current teachers.
In 2009, the Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA) and Teachers College of Columbia University (TC/CU) formed a new partnership, which was facilitated by the Columbia University Middle East Research Center (CUMERC), to contribute to meeting this challenge. Funded by the Jordan Ministry of Planning and United States Agency for International Development, and supported by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the Partnership is developing and demonstrating a model of high quality professional development that is scalable within Jordan and supports the use of effective instruction in Jordan elementary and secondary schools. The Partnership creates and supports networks of schools as vehicles for providing professional development for teams of teachers in core content areas as well as leadership training for principals and education supervisors to support the desired changes in classroom practice. This strategy aims to support the implementation of the ERfKE curriculum.
Reaching these goals will take a number of years. The purpose of this interim report is to summarize the key activities of the Partnership and the development of the school network strategy to date. It also examines available evidence on the progress of the Partnership towards its goals with particular attention to the start-up and first year implementation of the cohort 1 school networks, April 2009 to May 2010.