Syria and Jordan begin talks on opening vital border crossing

Members of the Russian military police patrol the Nassib border crossing with Jordan in the southern Syrian province of Daraa a on August 14, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 13 September 2018

Syria and Jordan begin talks on opening vital border crossing

  • Jordan and Syria held their first technical talks on opening a major border crossing
  • Damascus, which took back the crossing from the opposition, hopes to reopen the Nassib route

AMMAN:  Jordan and Syria held their first technical talks on opening a major border crossing in southern Syria that was recaptured from the opposition last July, a Jordanian official source said on Thursday.
Damascus, which took back the crossing from the opposition, hopes to reopen the Nassib route vital to its hopes of reviving Syria’s shattered economy and rebuilding in territory under its control.
Amman also hopes the opening of the border crossing will reactivate billions of dollars of annual transit trade between Europe and Gulf markets across Syria.
The source told Reuters a technical committee from the two countries held their first meeting on the border crossing on Wednesday to begin discussions on the practical arrangements from customs to security needed to reopen the crossing.
“The meetings will continue to put a complete view of all the arrangements linked to reopening the crossings in the coming period,” the source said.
Another Jordanian official said the crossing could open by the end of this year.
The closure of the crossing has also weighted on Lebanese exporters who used it to export hundreds of millions of dollars of produce and goods to lucrative Gulf markets.
Jordan’s private sector are also pinning hopes of a revival in bilateral trade in a major neighboring market where Jordanian business have long standing ties.
The Syrian government has recovered control of most of the country with help from its allies Russia and Iran.
With Russian air power, government forces have this year defeated the armed opposition in the last remaining enclaves near the cities of Homs and Damascus, and swept through the rebel-held southwest. 


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 23 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.