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Jordan: Culture, Society and Education

Introduction

Jordan as a country was founded in the early 20th century by Muslims majority and Christian minority. The early days saw very poor education system but in the modern day education has managed to transform the country from the old traditional kingdom that was mainly agrarian or depended on agriculture and other primitive practices like nomadic to a modern thriving economy. This paper presents a discussion about Jordan its culture and society and the education system. Additionally, the paper will look at why women can not participate in sports in Jordan and the reasons for their lack of participation (Jordan – The Society, 2007).

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Culture and Society

The word society is a group of people who co-exist in the same region and share the same beliefs, practices and governed by the same authorities in relation to law or by-laws that govern them while culture is the mindset of shared beliefs and goals that are practiced by a society and are passed from one generation to the next. The process through which the culture is passed from one generation to the other is called education, so in the other words the three terms co-exist with each other (Jordan – The Society, 2007).

The culture in Jordan is mainly Arabic as it has been borrowed from neighboring Arabic states like Egypt and it also contains some migrants who have since been assimilated into the local culture but at the same time adding their diversity to enrich the Jordanian culture. The society is very diverse over there with people of various cultures being put together due to various backgrounds; it’s more of like a pyramid where the top contains the royal and a few wealthy individuals with the bottom containing most citizens or the ordinary working class. The culture of Jordan has a pop effect which has been influenced by the western culture which has led to rise of malls and modern hotels and other facilities (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2010).

Education

Education in Jordan basically done in many levels today though earlier on the 80s it was free and most people went to the free government schools but in recent times the rise of private schools which have become the ideal schools for the elite and wealthy. The educations normally start from the preparatory level of two years followed by ten years spent in primary education (USAID, 2010). Primary education the children normally are passed from one level to the next irrespective of the performance which is mostly basis units for literacy and complete by a two more years in secondary education a after which students sit for general certification exam which is normally written and a passage to the post-secondary education; at this stage there are community colleges which were introduced to increase the level of skilled persons in the country and universities some of which being run privately while the rest are run by the government. At the same time, there are other education models like the adult education meant for adults. In the Arab world, the prevalence of girl education is still it has the highest prevalence in girl education in the region. The country is still to catch up with modern world as there is still inadequacy in technology and facilities for proper education but recent reforms by the government which strongly pushes for reforms have resulted in rapid development.

In recent times it has taken a stunning turn as the government has emphasized in basic education leading to very high literacy levels have increased sharply as most Jordanians complete their basic with most preferring to seek further education abroad due to perception that the education out there is of higher quality and a surveys carried out showed that most of them were studying either medicine or courses in various engineering disciplines. This has also been prompted by the increased population growth with the majority being the youth which has resulted in a rapidly changing job market. This has resulted in Jordan having one of the highest numbers of professionals in a population in the world with their student’s performance average being way higher than the international average. A high number of schools and universities and competition for opportunities have resulted in the result of a competitive job market as they are highly trained (USAID, 2010).

In modern society education has become of prime importance in facilitating a good life as in it assists in earning a living through getting a career but also it teaches us some important aspects that facilitate easy integration to the modern society.

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Women and Sports

According to Jordan – The Society (2007), in most schools, as usual, there are extra-curricular activities like sports and other recreational activities. Jordan being a Muslim country and some of the culture or practices in the Arab culture is dominant there is the dressing for girls and women which requires them to where less revealing clothes for example do not expose their bodies from head to toe which results in the wearing of Hijab; which is associated with respect in the community hence women don’t want to remove it while it hinders the participation in sports as you cant do some of the more strenuous or more physical sports if dressed in this attire. This and combine with the factor that sports was traditionally reserved for males makes it very hard for girls to participate in the sport. Due to the masculinity of most sports makes the girls shy away from the same as traditional women are viewed as a weaker sex physically. Another major issue is that notion that sports can take away their virginity which was a popular belief. In the Muslim world virginity for women is very important when it comes to getting married hence this myth made many women shy away from sports.

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What has also hindered growth of women in sports is the growth of pop culture in the country where now all or most teenage girls will prefer to be in the malls doing shopping and talking about fashion rather than be on the field playing any game which could easily mess their hair or nails. This compounded with the usual discrimination that can be brought about by peer pressure to follow suit.

Football is more popular sport in Jordan in comparison to other sports and the kind of sports gear that’s normally required in this sport is quite brief as in a jersey and a short with shoes. This leaves most of the body exposed and this makes it amore difficult for women to participate as culture and religion maintains that their bodies are very private and should not exposed in public which can easily happen in a contact sport like football (Culture.com, 2009).

In countries like Jordan the situations are a bit tricky in comparison to the developed countries, here the levels of literacy are still low especially in the girl child where is normally left behind as in some societies they don’t see the need to educate them due their cultures and practices where they are viewed as less important that the boy child as they shall be married off soon they grow older (USAID, 2010). This is a perfect example how the three factors can directly relate and affect each other. Here people clearly reflect different culture and how they affect their acquisition of modern knowledge which would be beneficial. Another change we have to note is that education has brought change in terms of culture in many societies, due to the lack of awareness some older beliefs in many cultures were ignorant to some cultures as modernity has come to expose, for example some diseases in older societies were thought to be demon possessed incidents but modern medicine has proved otherwise and this could not have happened were it not education.

In most societies the males have always been viewed as the stronger sex physically hence sports have always been reserved for them but we come to realize that if women are given the same opportunities they can also be competitive and emerge as an influential force in the society (Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2010). In the recent times women are slowly going into more active sports like in the recent Asian games the Jordan team featured women in sports like boxing and other disciplines which are more contact while in earlier days it was more of softer games like tennis badminton. With this more are daring to venture into sports and this has led to the formation of Jordanian national team for football.

Culture.com (2009) asserts that some of these practices and strict cultural practices combined with the usual religious beliefs that tend to shy on some things like women in sports and advocate for the housewife model of a woman ha continually hindered the development of women albeit in sports but with increased activity by lobby groups there is hope that in a few decades this notion will slowly be eradicated and replaced by women rising to prominence in the society due to sports. So all in all the Jordan society has improved tremendously despite putting the constraints encountered the society is slowly trying to beat the traditions set up by culture and this will eventually lead to the improvement of women in terms of sports hence making them more equal in the society especially in areas similar to Jordan like the rest of the Arab world and by this setting a good example.

Conclusion

Jordan is a country whose majority citizens are Muslims with a small number of Christians. The culture of Jordan entails Arabs as the main natives with Arabic as the main language spoken by a majority of the citizens with a few immigrants having been assimilated into their culture. The country experienced poor education in early days but presently, the sector has been transformed. Due to Muslims beliefs, the participation of women in sports has been scarce but they are allowed to participate in games that allow clothes that are less revealing.