Safer Access to Better Schools – Improved School Transport and Sustainable Facility Management for Schools in Jordan

Jordan’s education system urgently needs suitable school transportation services and efficient facility management. High costs and potential safety risks in school transport provide a barrier to accessing education. Overcrowding and vandalism, among other factors, create poor learning environments that need to be addressed through continuous facility management.

In Jordan, Qudra 2 addresses two significant challenges in the education sector by developing an improved school transport system and a sustainable facility management model in cooperation with the Ministries of Transport and Education.

To better understand the current situation of public-school transport in Jordan, the Qudra 2 programme conducted a needs assessment by consulting stakeholders such as the Ministries of Transport and Education, members of the local community and parents. Furthermore, a survey developed to analyse the root causes of challenges in the school transport sector was distributed to 20 licensed school transport service providers. The survey revealed that public school transport regulations require updating. Furthermore, operational costs and traffic jams prevent service providers from providing their services efficiently.

Qudra 2 supports improving school transport by upgrading school buses to national safety standards and developing criteria for school transport provision to increase safe, regulated, and affordable access to schools.

Another challenge the Jordanian education sector faces is providing an appealing learning environment to students. The prolonged closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a significant lack of maintenance of public schools.

Strengthening the facility management capacities of the different players, including the Ministry of Education and its associated departments, field directorates, and schools, is necessary to ensure schools are clean and safe. Strengthening the longer-term capacities of the Jordanian education sector to maintain schools is also essential to ensure the sustainability of investments in school infrastructure made since the onset of the Syrian crisis.

With Qudra 2 support, a pilot study on facility management, security, health, and safety in schools was conducted to update the Ministry of Education’s facility management guidelines and make recommendations on how to apply them nationwide sustainably.

These recommendations are now being tested in a pilot. Two checklists were developed, including minimum educational facility management standards, security, and health and safety procedures. The checklists were applied in a pilot assessment of 70 schools in the North-West Badia Field Directorate in Mafraq Governorate. The pilot assessed the current situation and shortfalls against minimum standards.

Awareness sessions on facility management, security, health, and safety in schools were conducted for 12 staff from the Ministry of Education and the North-West Badia Field Directorate to support relevant actors in improving school standards. Moreover, 12 engineers from the Ministry of Education and 168 engineers from the Field Directorates have completed training on a WebGIS Smart School Facility Management System. The management system will enable all relevant players to monitor the school maintenance process and make more data-driven decisions. As trainers, the trained engineers will cascade the WebGIS facility management system training to over 8,000 school staff.