(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan Attends a Workshop in Al Balqa.

According to Petra News on Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan attended a:

“…on the deteriorating performance of Jordanian students in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), during a visit to the Mahes Secondary School for Girls in Al Balqa.  

She also dropped by mathematics and science lessons taught by student-teachers enrolled in the Pre-service Professional Diploma Program implemented by the Queen Rania Teachers Academy (QRTA), who are currently fulfilling their practicum module at the same school.

raniaDuring the workshop, attended by 50 educators and moderated by QRTA’s Dr. Ahmad Qublan, Queen Rania said that the latest TIMMS assessment results are an indication that school curricula and teaching techniques are lacking, and warned that generations should not have to pay the price until a satisfying development of Jordan’s education system is achieved.

Her Majesty said that change doesn’t happen overnight and urged teachers to propose ways to develop the education process in order help students apply what they learn to real life situations.

The Queen said that the TIMSS results were shocking because they revealed that most students are neither fully grasping what they are taught nor are they capable of employing their knowledge, especially in mathematics, which should rely on understanding and reasoning, rather than memorization.

She also explained that there are inexpensive and innovative ways to improve students’ performance through technology software that helps teachers better communicate information to students.

The Queen also noted that efforts are underway to establish a teaching college in cooperation with Jordan University that would be able to train a much a larger number of teachers before they start their teaching careers.

In response to comments by teachers who said that students do not take international exams seriously because they don’t factor into their school grades, Her Majesty said that ‘teachers and schools have to build the right environment that creates incentive in students to excel in any exam.  Students should have the personal motivation to prove to themselves that they can do well in any exam, even if there is no direct return,’ Her Majesty added.

The performance of Jordanian students in last year’s TIMSS assessment has dropped drastically, placing Jordan 23 points below its rank in eighth grade Science. This constituted the largest drop by any of the 39 participating countries. Jordan’s score in eighth grade mathematics was also low, ranking 8th among nine participating Arab countries.jordan2

Teachers participating in the workshop expressed their frustration with the current science and mathematics curricula, on the grounds that they do not focus on the student’s understanding of the subjects and instead reinforce memorization rather than analysis. They also said they feel they lack effective teaching techniques that enrich students’ understanding based on reasoning, interpretation, and a logical thought process.

Some attributed the low TIMSS scores to lack of knowledge on the part of both teachers and students about the importance of this international assessment.

Several teachers told Her Majesty that they would like to see schools institute more extra-curricular activities that help students with problem-solving. Many, who have received training from QRTA, also called for establishing more education networks that can enhance their teaching techniques.

School Principal Mrs. Razan Zou’bi and Director of the QRTA Pre-service Professional Diploma Program Mrs. Suhair Alkhatib accompanied Her Majesty while she attended part of the classes taught by student-teachers enrolled in the diploma program.

QRTA’s diploma, a first in the kingdom, was launched in October 2016 under Queen Rania’s patronage, with the aim of preparing future educators to transform their classrooms into environments that encourage innovation, leadership, and intellectual curiosity.

rania1The program’s first cohort of educators includes 185 teachers, who went through a highly competitive selection process.

The practicum segment, or ‘School Experience’ module, aims to improve the teachers’ professional standards and facilitate their entry into the profession.

QRTA aims to graduate between 5000 and 7000 students in the upcoming five years. Upon completion of the nine-month 24 credit hour diploma, student teachers will commit to a teaching job with the Ministry of Education for four years, and receive a monthly salary during the training period in accordance to its regulations.

The Mahes Secondary School for Girls, which was established in 1951 currently enrolls 783 students. The school welcomes the local community to use its facilities and services by providing a venue for workshops, holiday celebrations, religious activities, and The Mahes Annual Festival.”


(VIDEO) HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco Attends the Opening of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Meeting.

On the morning of December 6, 2016, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco attended the opening of the Intergovernmental Panel Preparatory Meeting on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Climate Change and Oceans and the Cryosphere in Monte-Carlo, Monaco.  The four-day meeting is hosted by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco and the Gouvernment Monaco.

monaco3The purpose of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to scientifically analyze climate change. Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program the aim is to provide “…policymakers periodic scientific assessments on climate change, its impacts and future risks and to present their strategies for adaptation and mitigation…” according to the official website for the IPCC.




Photos courtesy of the IPCC

(VIDEO) Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands Meets with Scouts at Paleis Noordeinde.

dutchOn Tuesday, December 6, 2016, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands met with scouts at Paleis Noordeinde in Den Haag.

During today’s visit Her Majesty met with young members of the scouts as well as participated in a roundtable discussion with the directors of Scouting Netherlands.

According to RVD, issues discussed during the meeting included the three upcoming projects:

“…first, a project where scouts, with and without disabilities, can meet to learn to undertake activities together. Second, the cooperation with the Salvation Army, leaving children with few opportunities to join a club or association may participate in Scouting. And third, a project in which talented young volunteers get within Scouting Netherlands training and coaching to develop their talents.” 

Click here to watch a video. 

Photo courtesy of Scouting Nederland

(VIDEO) TIHs Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko of Japan Visit Nagasaki.

According to Kyodo News on December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Highnesses Prince Akishino and Princess Kiko  of Japan accompanied by their son, His Imperial Highness Prince Hisahito, visited Nagasaki to see:

“…relics of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki.  On his first visit to Nagasaki Prince Hisahito offered flowers at the ground zero monument in the Nagasaki Peace Park dedicated to victims of the bombing. The family also went to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum and Nagasaki Museum of History and Culture.

Atomic bomb survivor and former Nagasaki University President Hideo Tsuchiyama, 91, told of his experience to the prince, a fourth-grader at Ochanomizu University Elementary School…”

(VIDEO) TIMs Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan Visit the Katsushika Welfare Factory.

On December 6, 2016, Their Imperial Majesties Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited the Katsushika Welfare Factory in Tokyo, Japan.

During their visit to the factory, which employs individuals with disabilities, the emperor and empress met with workers preparing “…boxes of emergency food for disasters…” according to Kyodo News.

(VIDEOS) HM King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands Opens a New School Building in Leiden.

On the morning of Tuesday, December 6, 2016, His Majesty King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially opened a new building at the Leidse Instrumentmakers School (LIS) in Leiden.

Established in 1901 by Leiden professor and Nobel laureate, Mr. Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, the new building was constructed due to “…increased demand for graduate Research Instrument Makers. The school can now train more students, a maximum of 400, while still retaining its small-scale education feel…” according to RVD.

Click here to view photos.