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UNESCO and Korea provide TVET training scholarships to Jordanian and Syrian youth
Fleeing the conflict in Syria, Khaleel Al Shahmeh and his family arrived in Jordan in 2014. The timing could not have been worse; he had just finished 10th grade and now Khaleel would need to adapt to a brand new education system. The family settled in Mafraq and despite struggling to adjust to his new circumstances, Khaleel registered for the Jordanian Tawjihi. At home, sick with worry about the rest of the family members who had not managed to leave Syria, Khaleel’s father suffered a heart attack. Following surgery, it became clear that his father could no longer continue his physical work as he was no longer permitted to lift more than a few pounds. Barely 16 years old, Khaleel had suddenly become the main breadwinner for his household of eight. Ultimately, Khaleel persevered by undertaking the Tawjihi exams but without success. As time went on, Khaleel began to think about how to improve his employable skills. He studied to be a Network Engineering Technician at a local university but after completing the 16 months of training, he became aware of how difficult it would be as a refugee, to land a job in this sector. When Khaleel heard from friends about the scholarships funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea and offered at Al Quds College, he applied immediately and was ecstatic to be accepted into the Construction program. Khaleel’s scholarship is one of the 250 scholarships offered under this project, supporting access to meaningful, accredited post-basic education for 75 vulnerable Jordanian youth and 175 Syrian refugee youth in Jordan. The project is implemented by the UNESCO Amman office, which has been taking a leadership role in ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Sustainable Development Goal 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning. “I feel really lucky to have this great opportunity to start a new career and obtain an internationally recognized certificate. I enjoy the practical part of our assignments the most and when I finish the program in December, I have a few employment possibilities already lined up”, shares Khaleel. His teacher, Raed Al Turk speaks highly of his student, “Khaleel is known for his initiation, motivation, commitment and dedication throughout the classes and I think he will be employed immediately after completing the training”.
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EU, UNESCO, JMI commence Broadcasting Media and Information Literacy Training
©UNESCO The “Youth Empowerment” project works to advance Media Information Literacy (MIL) as a holistic response to foster safe and ethical use, consumption and production of media and internet among youth in Jordan. Implemented by the UNESCO Amman office, with strong collaboration and generous funding from the European Union (EU), the project is being carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of State for Media Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education, the media community and civil society in Jordan. This week, in partnership with Jordan Media Institute (JMI), UNESCO is offering a three-day training focused on MIL broadcasting. Nine participants from Yarmouk FM (Irbid) and Sawt Al Janoub (Ma’an) were invited to Amman with the goal of strengthening their MIL skills and working towards becoming mentors to students and volunteers at their respective radio stations. Dr. Basim Tweissi, Dean of Jordan Media Institute, delivered opening remarks, thanking the European Union and UNESCO for their ongoing support and efforts focused on the promotion of freedom of expression. “MIL skills are more important now than ever, especially amidst the conflict we face in the Arab region”. Dr. Tweissi emphasized the strategic value of MIL, highlighting it as a priority of the current government and encouraging schools and universities to integrate MIL education and courses into their curriculum. Ms. Cedric Neri, UNESCO associate project officer, welcomed participants, delivering a presentation summarizing the role of MIL freedom of expression and access to information and explaining why advancing MIL skills in Jordan remains a critical task. “Today, the sheer abundance of media content provides us with increased opportunities to find information but we are confronted as well by misinformation or disinformation. MIL empowers citizens to understand the functions of media, critically evaluate content and make informed decisions as users and producers of information and media content”. Mr. Neri commended participants for their strong interest in promoting MIL. Throughout 2019, the “Youth Empowerment” project will be implemented across Irbid, Zarqa, Ma’an and Mafraq. The trainees at this week’s “MIL broadcasting” ranged from professors to staff members at two community radio stations, Yarmouk FM and Sawt al Janoub. Ms. Nihad Jariri, JMI project officer, hopes that the training will work towards spreading MIL awareness through everyday radio work. Trainees will come together to form an editorial board and will return to their respective radio stations and pass on their MIL knowledge to 25 students and volunteers at each of the two affiliated universities. From this group of 50, ten will be selected, and the editorial board will supervise the work of these students, providing mentorship and support, and ensuring that they are producing high quality radio content aligned with the tenets of MIL. “Through the MIL pilot that took place under the now-complete ‘Support to Media in Jordan’ project, JMI has been working with the EU and UNESCO on capacity building and media information literacy. One major outcome has been setting up Jordan’s first local radio association”, Ms. Jariri shared. “With the ‘Youth Empowerment’ project, we are taking another step towards institutionalizing MIL at a higher level and ensuring it becomes an everyday practice”. Mr. Anas Alomari, Programs Manager at Yarmouk FM, trains about 80 student volunteers each term at the radio station. During this week’s training he hopes to gain a wider understanding of MIL. “When I get back to Yarmouk FM, the students will still be on their break from studies. This will be the perfect time for me to deliver a short version of this training to them, to pass on my MIL knowledge before we return to broadcasting on Yarmouk FM”. For Mohammad Hasanat, Director of Radio and TV at Al Hussein bin Talal University in Ma’an, the MIL training is enhancing his understanding of how to digest media and disseminate information ethically. “It is so important for me to pass this along to my students and volunteers at Sawt al Janoub, the need to distinguish fact from fiction. Currently, I have a lack of staff and volunteers at Sawt and I hope these new skills will help me to attract more volunteers”. This important initiative falls within UNESCO’s mandate of encouraging freedom of expression. UNESCO believes that free, independent and pluralistic media in print, broadcast and online are needed in order to ensure the free flow of ideas, optimize progress and build knowledge societies. The objectives of the ‘Youth Empowerment’ project align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically targeting SDG 16, which strives to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.
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Project Officer, P-3, Culture Section, Unesco Amman Office

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UNESCO Amman Office

Since 1945, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) works to build peace in the minds of men and woemn, fostering tolerance and mutual understanding. Jordan joined UNESCO on June 14th, 1950 and in 1986, Amman became the regional office for Education, Science and Communications. In 1996, UNESCO Amman was designated as a Regional Office for Culture and Communication and in the year 2000, it became the National Office for Jordan.

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