Public-Private Partnerships in Education: Evidence from Jordan’s Education Initiative's Success – Part II

Julia Devlin, 04 Mar 2015

A recent evaluation of Jordan’s Education Initiative (JEI) offers valuable insights into the impact of an education PPP. Launched in 2003 under the umbrella of the World Economic Forum, JEI is a local, global, and multi-stakeholder partnership. Its aim is to integrate information and communication technologies (ICT) into grades 1–12 as a teaching and learning tool. JEI is part of a national strategy to enhance knowledge economy skills.

JEI's four main objectives are to:


  1. Improve education delivery through PPPs
  2. Promote innovation among teachers and students in effective ICT use
  3. Build the local ICT industry's capacity
  4. Create a reform model for other countries.

JEI was launched with the help of 46 partners—top nonprofit, ICT, and telecommunications companies along with major international donors and two Jordanian ministries—under the leadership of King Abdullah II, with an initial US$25 million investment. Phase I focused largely on providing ICT infrastructure for schools, while training teachers in ICT literacy programs. Phase II focuses on pedagogy and developing student skills.


As a PPP, national government funding pays for  JEI administration, and partners fund individual projects. The Ministry of Finance allocates JEI's annual budget; JEI receives funds in return for its service to the Ministry of Education. Most external partners provide in-kind contributions. JEI operating costs are estimated at US$28 per student. However, JEI increasingly generates its own resources. On average JEI manages over 20 projects valued at between US$1.5 million and US$2 million. Its global partners include Harvard University and companies such as Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and SMART.


Successful Design Features


In early 2007, JEI successfully transitioned to a nationally-owned, not-for-profit, limited liability company. Consequently, its role expanded to include research and innovation, and monitoring and evaluation.
At the national level, JEI has contributed e-content linked to the national curriculum and promoted Jordanian educational software companies. JEI successfully introduced ICT equipment and software in 100 schools, trained 3,000 teachers, and promoted development of educational software and teacher-training modules. The initiative launched in-classroom technology and promoted teaching IT to students.


What Is JEI’s Impact?


Overall, Jordan has significantly raised educational outcomes and enrollment through a wide range of initiatives. Significant student achievement gains included a jump of almost 30 points in the 2007 TIMSS science section—an improvement that outpaced every other country tested. On average, Discovery school (JEI) students achieved higher scores in math and science than non-Discovery students (see figures, below), and higher scores in all three subject areas of the PISA 2006 assessment than regular public school students.


NAfKE Student Scores in JEI and non-JEI Schools, 2006 and 2008

Figure 1: Grade 5


Figure 2: Grade 9


Figure 3: Grade 11

Source: Bannayan et al., 2012.
Note: NafKE = National Assessment for Knowledge Economy Skills.


JEI also contributed significantly to the national ICT industry through its partnerships with global firms, transfer, and capacity building, and by generating product and service export opportunities. Nearly US$4 million has been transferred from global partners to local companies. In 2004, Cisco established a strategic partnership to create the Cisco Technical Support Center with Estarta, and five Jordanian companies built relationships with global partners. Rubicon, a local e-content developer, partnered with Cisco Systems and the Cisco Learning Institute to develop the math e-curriculum.


Read Part I



Julia Devlin is nonresident senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings Institution. She formerly worked as consultant at the World Bank Group and as a lecturer in economics at the University of Virginia. Her focus is economic development, private sector development, energy and trade in the Middle East and North Africa. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics.

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