Published on Arab Voices

Jordan’s education response to COVID-19: Speed, support, and sustainability

????? ???? ?? ?????. طالبة تدرس في البيت.

More than 160 countries mandated some form of school closures due to COVID-19 that impacted at least 1.5 billion children and youth globally and at least 103 million students across the Middle East and North Africa. A recent study suggests that, globally, students currently in school stand to lose US$10 trillion in labor earnings over their work life.

Jordan was amongst the first in the MENA region to enforce a strict lockdown and close all educational institutions as early as mid-March. The Government of Jordan rapidly responded to these closures in order to minimize learning losses. The Ministry of Education collaborated with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship (MoDEE) and private sector providers Edraak, Mawdoo3, Abwaab and JoAcademy platforms to develop comprehensive remote education platforms. Among these were "Darsak," an official e-learning portal which offers short video clip courses for grades 1 to 12; "Teachers," a 90-hour training program; and repurposing the country’s television sports channel which was to become a student learning channel. The quick actions taken by the government to respond to education needs and advance digital learning solutions could enable a swifter recovery and rebound for the country.

To support and sustain this momentum, the World Bank is leveraging its technical assistance and financing to help the Jordanian government facilitate a digital transformation through timely financing, stakeholder coordination and technical advice.  The World Bank prioritized a rapid education sector response to COVID-19, aligned with the Bank’s global education response plan that guides interventions across recovery phases — i.e. ‘'coping', 'managing continuity' and 'improving and accelerating'.

The World Bank is supporting Jordan in the 'coping' phase by focusing on rapid response activities. Through its "Skilling Up Mashreq Initiative (SUM)", the Bank team played a critical convening role with international and local partners to catalyze the progress made on building digital skills through distance learning. Edraak is one of the key players mandated by the government to incorporate computer science and digital skills resources on "Darsak". SUM activities are supporting the localization (translation, dubbing and video recording) of internationally recognized computer science learning assets, such as those developed by

"Collaboration is essential when responding to crises," said Shireen Yacoub, CEO of "Featuring content from all of the leading educational platforms in Jordan, the "Darsak" platform was a textbook example of a collaboration between three crucial players: government, the private sector and non-profits. Similarly, the World Bank’s collaboration with Edraak and enabled us to join efforts in order to bring a localized coding learning experience to our learners across the MENA region, and create a model for other multi-stakeholder collaborations to emulate."

In the second phase of 'managing continuity', digital skills partnerships and activities will be scaled up to strengthen the supply of digital skills which are critical for employment and for Jordan’s economic transformation. One of the components of a World Bank Youth Technology and Jobs project is focused on enhancing digital skills of public school students from grades 7 to 12. Key activities include the introduction of quality computer science courses in public classrooms as an enhancement to the existing information technology curriculum in schools.

The World Bank will continue to play a critical role in the third 'improving and accelerating' phase for Jordan. US$100 million was mobilized through a World Bank Education project to focus on piloting and then mainstreaming blended learning modalities through the education system, which include virtual and onsite learning to ensure the digital divide does not further exacerbate the existing learning gap across socio-economic levels. The project also includes interventions aimed at ensuring that schools meet minimum safety and health standards and are equipped with sanitation and hygiene facilities that promote a clean learning environment for students.

A key priority in supporting Jordan’s COVID-19 response has been to ensure that no one is left behind by school closures and the necessary move to remote and digital learning. Bridging an already wide digital divides is a major hurdle for this transition given the lack of access to computers and internet in Jordan, and inadequate focus on vulnerable populations. To support this agenda, initiatives focusing on development of digital skills in low-resource settings are currently being mapped and piloted under SUM. SUM is also supporting programs to ensure refugees in Jordan have opportunities for remote learning and work. The team has identified Hsoub Academy as a potential partner to deliver specialized online gig economy training to Syrian refugees.

Recognizing the centrality of digital skills to recovery and future growth, the Government of Jordan and the World Bank are taking decisive, inclusive action. With its investments and technical assistance, the Bank is committed to supporting Jordan in building back better.


Andreas Blom

Manager, World Bank Education Global Practice, MENA Region

Mariam Nusrat

Education Specialist, World Bank

Nicole Goldin

Consultant, World Bank Education Global Practice and MENA Team

Ayesha Bilal

Public Policy Professional

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000