Monday, August 17, 2009

Inspiration in the News...

Okay, so my blogging has been sporadic of late (meaning like 3 months at least). But today, I was reading the Jordan Times and saw blog post waiting to happen. Or two... But, here, we'll combine them into one "In the News" piece.

Good News?: Amman Is Even MORE Expensive

Amman has the doubtful honor of moving up 35 places since last year's Most Expensive Cities survey. Thirty-five spots! In one year! Yikes, yikes and yikes! The survey takes into account living costs for expatriates and compares the "cost of over 200 items in each location including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment."

The thing is, it isn't just about expats is it? Every time I hear how much rent has gone up. I curse the foreigners overpaying for their apartments. It seems like it used to be 10 of them in town. Now with the advent of the various UN offices and all of the embassies, it's more like 1000. As a result, everyone with a half-decent apartment in West Amman thinks they should be getting 25,000 JDs a year for it. So, I guess we'll just have to keep working and working and working to pay for rent and good and clothes and... Don't get me started on clothes! So, those of us who aren't expatriates have to find ways to pay to live in Amman on local salaries. Is it any wonder that kids are still at home at age 30, 40, 50? Of course, by now you're wondering how in the world this could be good news. Well, if you are an American claiming the foreign housing exemption the high cost of living in Amman just may help you deduct more of your income. For the Beans, we don't make that much, but for those who do... Good news?

Majority of students in Jordanian schools are in government schools

Okay, so for those of you who don't live in Jordan (or the Jordan I live in, anyway) this may seem like a no-brainer. This article in the Jordan Times states that the Ministry of Education is preparing for the start of school. It notes that of the 1.6 million school children in Jordan only 400,000 go to private and UNRWA schools. Now, in the US, that division would seem not only believable, but absolutely normal. However, in Jordan, I know a fairly large number of people. I don't know a single one that sends their children to government schools. Literally, not a single one. I know of one. Somehow that seems to point out to me how different one's experience of the same place can be. I expect that to some extent this may be and East/West divide, but I also think that anyone who can afford to send their kids to private school in West Amman does so.

I'd also like to say that given the number of people the Jordanian school system has to get through each year, their quality is rather high. While people may feel shy about their English, most government school graduates have a functional understanding of English (if a mismatched inability to speak it). So, kudos to the government for managing such a large number of students every year, but could those numbers possibly be accurate? Anyone with any knowledge?

Hamas Battles Al Qaeda Making It a US Ally?

In a bizarre turn of events, Hamas engaged in a gunfight with a "rival splinter group aligned with Al Qaeda". The end (so far) of the military action has been the death of the rival party's leader. The Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman indicated that Hamas would try and bring the rivals back in the fold of "moderate Islam". So what is it that the US is so worried about? After all, those who aren't against us and for us, right? And as practitioners of moderate Islam, we have no need to worry about them. Honestly, I have no idea about Hamas' religious beliefs. The only issue the US seems to have with them is their political beliefs, ones I think are absolutely understandable. While I may not like their methods, I have no understanding of their religious viewpoints. Perhaps one of you has something to add...

Israel Cuts Off Its Nose to Spite Its Face

Apparently, Israel has begun issuing a visa that only covers Israel proper and limits foreigners from traveling the the West Bank. It seems that travelers are being forced to choose which of the two they want. Somehow, if I'm on a pilgrimage, it's more important to me to be able to see the church in Bethlehem than the old city. But then, again, that's where the resurrection took place. So, bottom line Israel is acting in a manner that makes them look petty and obnoxious. But, is there anything new about that?

That's all that caught my eye today (noting that today stretched across two newspaper days since the last items appears in the paper that magically came about at 12:00 am... Hope you enjoyed my brief of things that made me say hmmm... Anything to add?

Happy inspiration!


At 2:00 AM , Anonymous Jamal Al Jabiri said...

The percentage of private school attendees has always stood at around 20 to 30% of the school age population. The Government has been claiming in recent years that many parents have been moving their kids out of private schools into public ones. They say it is because of teh big improvement in quality of education. I expect it is more to do with teh inflation rate over the last few years.

At 7:22 AM , Blogger MommaBean said...

Jamal, I found it very interesting. I actually expected the number of private school attendees would be much higher base don the people I know. but I guess that says more about the people I know... I'm with you on inflation and schooling costs driving people into the public schools, although perhaps the improvement of education has made them more willing?

At 2:20 AM , Anonymous kinzi said...

Whew, I thought things seemed tighter. @@

At 5:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 6:50 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

I think that 20 to 30% internationally is quite high. I am certainly no expert. I do think that the quality of education has improved over the years and the Government has been dedicating a lot of resources to that. I just know that my wife keeps threatening my 10 year old daughter to transfer her to a public school if she doesn't keep her grades up. It seems to be working.


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