The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been recognized by the Global Monitoring Report on Education for All as the first in the Arab world in delivering education services in the Middle East. It is also the fourth in the world among countries with medium probability of achieving the goals of education for all.
Unfortunately, there are no accurate statistics showing the real number of persons with disabilities in Jordan. The Department of Statistics has counted only 1.23% PWDs in the community while the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities (HCD) has tallied 2%. There is also no specific law for PWDs in the educational provisions. The first law of education in Jordan was issued in 1964 but it was not until 2007 that the Rights of People with Disabilities Act No. 31 was issued. It has given the HCD the sole responsibility to provide the services for PWDs, and has defined the term “inclusion” for what it should be: as “measures, programs, plans, and policies aimed at achieving the full participation of disabled people in life without any form of discrimination and with equal with others.”
Furthermore, inclusive education in Jordan has been likened to the concept of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: as “the right of persons with disabilities to education with a view to realizing this right without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.” It has adopted the American education policy of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) in order to develop full-inclusion.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in Jordan has maintained that children with disabilities must be educated with children who are not disabled. Only if the educational alternatives cannot be achieved in the regular classroom can a PWD be isolated. The Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Union (COFACE) has also come to believe that “inclusion is not the same as integration. Whereas integration requires the child to adjust to an education system, inclusion must be about making the system adapt to each child.” The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has seen inclusive education as “a process of addressing and responding to the diversity of needs of all learners through increasing participation in learning, cultures and communities, and reducing exclusion within and from education.”
So, in Jordan, three independent institutions oversee educational services for its PWDs under the age of 18: the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Higher Council for Affairs of Persons with Disabilities. For PWDs over the age of 18, the responsibility rests on the Ministry of Higher Education.
“[Inclusive education] is the prerequisite for stability. If schools managed to accommodate all students, they will grow up to create non-discriminatory, peaceful and stable societies,” Kamal Jabr