Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan, Vice Chairman of the Jordan National Museum, today launched the UNESCO-sponsored educational kit entitled Ana Jerash, or “I am Jerash”. The groundbreaking project gives teachers and students the resources they need to interpret the history of Jerash and to bring to life the stories of its people.
“We Jordanians are privileged to have inherited an ancient land of culture and civilization,” said the Princess. “It is vital that we acknowledge this gift to our nation, and that we do all we can to pass on a wonder in our heritage to our young people.”
The Princess added that Jordan had the potential to be a vast classroom of history: “An understanding of archaeology can help to capture pupils’ interest and to engage them in an enquiry-based learning process concerned with interpreting the past,” she said.
The Princess said that young people could also learn from our ancestors to benefit the way we live our lives today. This was particularly true in the case of environmental understanding and resource management.
His Excellency Dr Wajih Oweis, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Minister of Education thanked HRH Princess Sumaya, HH Sharifa Nofa bint Nasser, and the UNESCO office in Amman, for their efforts in this project and reaffirmed the importance of such projects.
Her Highness Sharifa Nofa bint Nasser, the President of The Friends of Archaeology and Heritage Society in Jordan, welcomed HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan and thanked her for her continuous support to the society. The President also thanked the UNESCO and the Ministry of Education for supporting the educational kit. She also thanked the sponsors of the event; Intercontinental Jordan, Magicline and Gallery 14.
Sharifa Nofa said “This kit which was managed by the society and funded by UNESCO Amman office and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education aims to provide greater understanding among school children of their archaeological assets and its protection as part of their national identity, as well as enhancing the tourism industry and increasing the national income.”
“Heritage education seeks to encourage and enable tomorrow’s decision-makers to participate in heritage conservation and to respond to the continuing threats facing our heritage. Young people learn about heritage sites, about the history and traditions of their own and other cultures, and about the importance of protecting cultural diversity” said Dr. Anna Paolini, Director of UNESCO Amman office.
The project manager, Dr. Arwa Badran from the Hashemite University, stressed: “The project is the first of its kind in Jordan, if not in the Arab region. The kit was produced by a national team of experts from the sectors of heritage and education, informed by extensive research on educational opportunities provided for school children in Jordan. Moreover, the kit was piloted by 6 schools over a period of three days to ensure its effectiveness. We feel that it is time to engage our teachers and pupils in an interesting learning process about archaeology and the ingenuity of past communities that built this ancient city, particularly the local people of Jerash”.
The Educational Resource Kit on the Archaeological site of Jerash was produced for the historical site that is most visited by school children in Jordan, it is in line with the Ministry of Education’s History and Citizenship Curriculum on Jerash. It includes interactive elements, presentations, visuals and a short film about the history of the site, and provides teachers with practical examples of in-class as well as on-site activities. The materials produced by UNESCO will be accessible to all teachers through the pedagogical resources portal of the Ministry of Education and therefore easy to use and to upscale in a cost-effective manner.