Jordan officials hold talks in Syria on resuming flights

In this Monday, Oct. 15, 2018 file photo, Jordanian cars prepare to cross into Syria, at the Jordanian-Syrian border Jaber crossing point, in Mafraq, Jordan. (AP)
Updated 23 January 2019

Jordan officials hold talks in Syria on resuming flights

  • Before the conflict broke out in 2011, national carrier Royal Jordanian operated two flights a day to Syria
  • Jordan reopened its key Jaber/Nassib border crossing with Syria in October.

AMMAN: Civil aviation officials from Jordan visited Damascus on Wednesday to discuss plans to reopen Syrian airspace to its commercial flights, Jordanian state media reported, in another sign that the country's war is winding down. 
Their mission was “to examine technical issues around the possibility of Jordanian commercial flights resuming their use of Syrian airspace,” said Haitham Mistu, the head of Jordan’s civil aviation authority.
Before the conflict broke out in 2011, national carrier Royal Jordanian operated two flights a day to Syria — one to Damascus and one to the northern city of Aleppo.
In July 2012, it suspended the services as an anti-government uprising escalated into full-blown war, placing air traffic at risk.
But Mistu told Jordan’s official Petra news agency that Wednesday’s meetings were part of a risk assessment program, to be followed by a technical evaluation.
“Based on that evaluation, the appropriate technical decision will be taken,” he said, without giving any timeframe.
The meeting was the latest in a series of moves by Arab states to rebuild ties with the Syrian regime as the country’s devastating civil war draws to a close.
Jordan reopened its key Jaber/Nassib border crossing with Syria in October.
On Tuesday, the foreign ministry announced it had decided to appoint a charge d’affaires at the Jordanian embassy in Damascus.
Last month, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir became the first Arab leader to visit Damascus since the start of the war and the UAE became the first Gulf state to reopen its embassy in Damascus.
Syria remains suspended from the Arab League.
The war has killed more than 360,000 people and displaced millions since it started in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government demonstrations.
But since 2015, a series of Russian-backed assaults has put the regime back in control of much of the country.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 22 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.