"United We Are Stronger" sings the school choir of the TSS with their music teacher Qamar Badwan. For the 50th anniversary of EMS, they recorded their own version of the EMS jubilee song "Together We Are Free" - a praise of intercultural and interreligious community.
Jordan has always been seen as a haven of peace in a politically-unstable region. The Jordanian royal family has adopted a policy of equality, while peace between Christians and Muslims is also a genuine concern of the monarchy. Despite this, economic hardship, high unemployment and oppressive government debts still prevail. The biggest challenges facing the country are the extreme water shortage and an inefficient education system.
From kindergarten to apprenticeship
Against this background, the Theodor Schneller School (TSS) has been operating in the capital Amman since 1959. Roughly 250 children and youngsters – boys and girls, Christians and Muslims – attend kindergarten, school and boarding school here, or do their training at apprentice workshops. As well as established training courses in automobile mechanics, joinery and metalwork, the school has recently added extra courses in hotel and guest hospitality, hairdressing and automobile electrics.
Short-term, one-year courses are also available for young people with learning difficulties. All the training courses are state-approved.
9.5 million inhabitants, of which 2% are Christians
Learning with all the senses
The concept of holistic education applies in the school: the school team staunchly believes that external conditions – such as a healthy and balanced diet – can have a positive effect on the development of children and their academic success. A lot of the vegetables used in the school kitchen are grown organically on the school premises. A music room was built for musical education. However, particular attention is paid to children and young people with learning difficulties, who are offered remedial teaching.
And yet TSS is faced with new, sometimes existence-threatening challenges on a virtually daily basis. As a result of the economic effects of the current crises, it has become increasingly difficult to pay the teachers’ wages. Only with donations from Germany and Switzerland has it been possible to stave off the worst possible fate. The dilapidated water supply and sewage system on the huge school site has also needed renovating – a process that is still ongoing to this day.
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