An evaluation of the implementation of public kindergartens in Jordan
The present study evaluates a major education reform in Jordan-the implementation of public kindergartens-and provides an example of how evaluation can be incorporated into education reform. Although first grade is mandatory in Jordan, kindergarten is not. Until recently, kindergartens were either not available to most children or were available only in the private rather than public sector. However, Jordan is now in a period of education reform. Since 2003, the Ministry of Education has established 532 public kindergartens in Jordan. Nevertheless, this number remains small in comparison with 4,127 kindergartens owned and operated by the private sector. Currently approximately 40% of Jordanian children go to kindergarten (both in the public and private sectors). Prior to the recent education reform, approximately 30% of Jordanian children attended kindergarten; the goal of the Ministry of Education is to increase kindergarten enrollment to 50% by 2012. Using classroom observations and interviews with principals, teachers, and parents, the present study evaluated the quality of the newly implemented public kindergartens in relation to kindergartens in the private sector. A stratified random sample of kindergartens was selected to represent the new public kindergartens (n = 84) and previously existing private kindergartens (n = 23). Independent observers rated the quality of these kindergarten environments in seven domains. In addition, interviews were conducted with the principals of these 107 schools, 107 kindergarten teachers in each of these schools, and 221 parents of kindergarteners at these schools. The observed quality of public kindergartens was generally better than the observed quality of private kindergartens, but principals', teachers', and parents' perceptions generally favored private kindergartens. Findings suggest the importance of continuing to implement high quality kindergartens in Jordan and of incorporating evaluations into education reform. © 2010 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Al-Hassan, SM; Obeidat, OM; Lansford, JE
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