Both Islamic and Western culture characterize the education system in Jordan. Primary school is compulsory and free for everyone for 10 years from the children are 5 years and 8 months. About. 70% of children attend public school, the rest in private. There are also approx. 200 Palestinian refugee schools run by UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency). After primary school, the 2-year upper secondary school comes with a general and vocational component.
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Higher education has been rapidly expanding since the 1980s. The country has 23 universities; Jordan University in Amman was founded in 1962. The proportion of illiterate people is estimated at approx. 10% of the adult population, of the women approx. 21% (2000).
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The country’s main source of foreign currency comes from the amounts that Jordanians abroad – predominantly Palestinians – send home to their families in Jordan. At the same time, the state budget is dependent on financial assistance from the Arab countries. In 1989, this was around $ 1 billion.
Delay of aid forced the government to ask the IMF for financial aid. Foreign debt was then up to $ 6 billion. The rise in prices of basic consumer goods in April 1989 sparked an uproar among the poor Bedouin population in the south.
Hussein again granted Parliament a limited right to control the monarchy, freed political prisoners and printed parliamentary elections.
When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, the king’s popularity was at its peak, yet he faced a difficult situation. On the one hand, Jordan was militarily flanked by Israel, on the other by Iraq. A majority of the population – the Palestinians – supported Saddam while under pressure from Western countries to go against Saddam. The country depended on Saudi Arabia for financial aid and Iraq for oil supplies.
Jordan opted to join the trade blockade of Iraq, but at the same time opposed military intervention to implement Security Council resolutions. As a result of the blockade, the country lost $ 570 million. Furthermore, it received 40,000 Kurdish refugees, over 1 million Iraqis and about 300,000 Jordanians of Palestinian origin, who were thrown out of Kuwait in retaliation for the Earth’s support for Iraq.
On June 9, 1991, King Hussein and a number of political representatives signed a new constitution legalizing the political parties and extending the political rights to women.
That same month, Taher Al Masri was appointed prime minister as a replacement for Mudar Badram. Al Masri was at the head of Jordan’s delegation to the Middle East Peace Conference in Madrid that same year and furthered the rapprochement with the Bush administration in the United States. In November, Taher Al Masri was replaced after losing a vote of no confidence to the Islamist fundamentalist bloc in parliament. He was replaced on the post by Sharif Zeid Ibn Shaker.
The Islamic fundamentalists’ progress in the country had been subject to less repression than elsewhere in the region. The Muslim Brotherhood was allowed to operate – initially as a philanthropic organization. The brotherhood’s popularity increased due to its social and health activities: it owned hospitals, schools and several centers for Islamic studies. The Brotherhood’s political arm was the Front of Islamic Action (FIA). Both groups opposed the dialogue with Israel. In November 1992, two FIA MPs were released as part of a general amnesty for 1,480 political and ordinary prisoners.
In May 1993, Abdul Salam Madjali was appointed Prime Minister. He was the head of the Jordanian delegation in negotiations with Israel. At the November parliamentary elections – the first in the country’s history – TV host Tuyan Faisal became the country’s first female parliamentarian.
The difficult relations between Islamists and the throne hindered the negotiations with Israel. It was not until July 1994 that an agreement between Jordan and Israel could be concluded in Washington, ending the 46-year state of war between the two countries and allowing 60,000 Palestinian refugees in Jordan to return home.