COVID-19

PM issues Defense Orders No. 7 and No. 8

Orders address e-education, procedures to limit virus spread

During a press conference at the National Centre for Security and Crisis Management, Razzaz announced Defence Order No. 7, which deals with organising distance learning for schools, universities and vocational training.

Also speaking at the press conference, Education Minister Tayseer Nuaimi noted that the order aims at further integrating distance education into the Kingdom’s education system by including it in the Education Law.

The order also aims at accrediting e-education and considering it an alternative to traditional education from the halt of regular classes until the end of the academic semester, Nuaimi added.

The minister noted that the order provides “enough grounds and flexibility” for the use of new forms of school examinations, establishing e-exams as an accepted form of student assessment.

He called on students to continue their studies through e-platforms.

Higher Education Minister Muhyiddine Touq said that all the activities of university students via e-education will be “fully considered” as being within the accredited hours of universities.

Touq also pointed out that the distribution of marks within the e-education system have been standardised among universities to ensure fairness. 

Razzaz noted that prior to the coronavirus crisis, 80 per cent of higher education in developed countries represented a combination of classrooms and distance learning, while in Jordan, this figure stood at only 25 per cent.

The crisis, he said, presents an opportunity for Jordan to increase this percentage.

The premier also noted that Defence Order No. 7 will not affect the independence of universities.

Regarding Defence Order No. 8, the prime minister noted that it is tied to protecting public health and limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

“Our numbers [of confirmed coronavirus cases] are reassuring and represent a source of pride when compared to major and more affluent world countries,” the premier said.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad noted that, according to Defence Order No. 8, which applies to all Jordanians and residents in the Kingdom, people must immediately report to the authorities if they are infected with the coronavirus or if they have come into contact with an infected person, as well as report any infection they are aware of.

The order also stipulates the need to respect the privacy of patients infected with the virus, those who have been in contact with COVID-19 patients and those suspected of having the virus, he said.

The order also requires hospitals, health centres and administrators to immediately inform the authorities of any confirmed case.

All violators of this order will face imprisonment terms of up to three years, a fine of JD3,000 or both penalties. Furthermore, the application of these penalties does not cancel stiffer penalties mentioned in other laws.

Hammad stressed that further deterrent procedures will be implemented to address any problems, and that the authorities “will not be lenient and will be strict in ensuring the safety of the homeland”.

Razzaz said that Defence Order No. 8 is connected to the rule of law and the safety of citizens, especially given that there are some people who are still not committed to the government’s measures and who will “destroy all efforts” exerted in fighting the virus.

Meanwhile, the government will gradually begin mitigating measures as of Sunday, starting in Aqaba, he said, stressing that these eased measures “do not mean that the curfew is lifted”, and that they will be reconsidered if a lack of commitment or a spike in coronavirus cases is witnessed.

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