Students and faculty were honored to host HE Jumana Ghunaimat, Minister of State for Media Affairs and other high-level guests at Nusaibah Al Maziniyye Girls School in Ruseifah in Zarka. HE Ghunaimat was joined by Ms. Sirpa Tulla and Ms. Ines Alves, representing the European Union, Dr. Bassim Tweissi, Dean of Jordan Media Institute, Ms. Costanza Farina, UNESCO Representative to Jordan and Mr. Rasmy Hudrob, head of the education directorate in Ruseifeh.
The visit focused on the school’s Media and Information Literacy Club. Such clubs are currently active in fifteen schools across Jordan, as one component of the European Union (EU) funded and UNESCO implemented “Youth Empowerment” project. The project seeks to promote the safe and ethical use of media and the internet, working to advance Media Information Literacy (MIL) as a holistic response to fostering the informed use, consumption and production of media and internet among youth in Jordan. This initiative is being carried out in cooperation with the Minister of State for Media Affairs, the Ministry of Education, the media community and civil society in Jordan, with support from key partners Media Diversity Institute and Jordan Media Institute (JMI).
Fifteen girls participate in the MIL Club at Nusaibah Al Maziniyye Girls School, led by teachers Ms. Haniah Dajah and Ms. Huda Naserallah. Following opening remarks by Headmistress Ms. Fayrouz Ahmad Awad, Ms. Huda welcomed the visitors to the school and introduced the MIL club members who range from grades 7 to 9. She explained the objective of the MIL clubs, which seeks to encourage youth to ethically and critically consume and produce media content. “Students participating in the MIL club are excited to come to this class. Here, they are encouraged to take the lead and to contribute and collaborate, while following the excellent MIL curriculum. We don’t teach this class in the traditional way and it is highly interactive; we often feel that we are also learning from our students”, shared Ms. Huda.
Students performed a short skit and then embarked on an exercise, using six hats of different colors to illustrate distinct aspects of critical thinking. Participants expressed their feedback on the MIL Club experience, demonstrating the strong impact. “My sister was sharing pictures on Facebook without verifying sources or thinking about the outcome. I talked to her about how to check the authenticity of the picture using online tools. I talked to her about what I had learned and about how she needs to think before sharing such material on social media”. Another young woman communicated the importance of respecting the privacy of others. “You can hurt people if you post sensitive pictures on social media without permission; we need to be mindful of the far-reaching influence of our posts”.
HE Ghunaimat thanked the students for their contributions and opened the discussion.
As youth, we look to you to lead as you represent the future. This is why we have chosen to target youth with MIL training. We live in a huge world of information where the flow of information is continuously increasing. As young people, you need to be aware and informed of how navigate in this world, you need to be empowered to face this world and utilize all content offered by the media and other sources of information
Students shared how they work to verify the sources of pictures and news they come across in the media and emphasized the added value of strong MIL skills. When asked how many students were interested in a career in media, most MIL club participants raised their hands.
“We are expecting you all to be active, productive and responsible citizens in your communities, using technology in a positive manner, in conjunction with your newfound skills”, added Dr. Bassim of JMI.
This year, the MIL clubs have been focusing on freedom of expression, digital media literacy, visual media creation, authenticity of news, ethical reporting, and online privacy and security, among other topics. Ms. Sirpa of the EU was delighted to see the dynamic interactions between MIL Club teachers and students.
It makes me very happy to see how engaged all of you are and the way you feel comfortable discussing these issues with your teachers. When I was younger, the format dictated that we sit, listen and absorb information
The students showed strong interest in Jordan’s MIL standing in the region. UNESCO project officer, Ms. Hanadi Gharaibeh expressed that, “from our interactions with other MIL models in the region, Jordan is advanced in institutionalizing MIL as a result of the engagement of key players and the strong government commitment. We hope that in the near future, we might see some of you sharing your experience with youth in the region”.
UNESCO believes that MIL supports the development of inclusive knowledge societies, encouraging the active engagement of youth through information and communication technologies, drawing on relevant quality content, based on human rights and dignity. Strengthening MIL skills falls within UNESCO’s mandate of encouraging freedom of expression. The objectives of the “Youth Empowerment” project align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, specifically targeting Sustainable Development Goal 16, which strives to promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies.