“The future I want is one where education comes above all.”

Aseel is a girls' rights and education activist from Jordan.
Aseel is a girls’ rights and education activist from Jordan.

My name is Aseel I am of Palestinian descent and live in Jordan. I have studied English language and literature and am now doing a master’s in audio-visual translation, I like to describe myself as a daring individual who is never afraid to try new things. 

I don’t know at what point exactly I started to question my reality but it was pretty early on, and since then, being an activist has been a natural path for me to take. 

During my studies I had the opportunity to teach English in a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan on the condition that the teacher (me) should teach in non-traditional ways.  

It was a challenge that I now look back on with a lot of admiration because it was run by university students who at most were 19 at the time! The camp was far from my house, and taking public transportation allowed me the time to take in every detail of life there, and all the difficulties it imposes, overall the experience opened my eyes to how finances often determine the quality of education you get. 

Finances can determine the quality of education

My first students were 25 girls. I navigated teaching in a way that was creatively challenging because I feel that passing information in the usual stale way doesn’t work. After all, I was taught that way and it made my school experience a tough one as someone who has ADHD. 

My passion towards the project was fuelled by how much I know the English language is important in this age. This world, unfortunately, is not forgiving for those who don’t master it. My students were my little sisters, and in refugee camps, the life of women and young girls is not plain sailing.  

We had to protect our students from harassment on the way home, convince their parents of the English club’s importance when the school started up, and come up with activities that were context-appropriate to fit the limited resources and space we had. 

Taking the lead and getting my voice heard

In April last year, I joined the She Leads project, first as a member of the country network, then the UN cohort, and finally as part of the Middle-East and North Africa Regional Advisory Board, which helped me shape a clear path for my advocacy work that aligns with my job and studies. I gained knowledge from the other activists.  

In August I started doing my MA in audio-visual translation and learning more about accessibility studies and looking into ways of implementing it into everyday life, which adds another layer to my understanding of the problems with our current education systems. 

The future I want to see

The future I want is one where education comes above all. Now, more than ever, we need to locate where the problems lie in the system – and they are not hard to find!

We must work towards an education that prioritises student needs in the 21st century. The old ways won’t prepare our generation or future ones for the rapid development in tech.  

“It is time we go out of the observer role and become part of the revolution”

Aseel, 22, Jordan

It is time we go out of the observer role and become part of the revolution, all children should have languages and tech literacy, not only those who can afford it. 

A future where children are not targets

I imagine a future where school is safe, and the right to education is sacred.

No schools should be bombed, teachers should not be the target of attacks, no war should make children miss a whole school year, children should not be hungry, cold, displaced and mistreated, they should not be in lines for hours to get bread or unclean water, children should be in class, playing and learning. I want a future where children are not the target of wars and conflict. 

A future of inclusion and equality

Aseel wants a future where education is the priority.

I imagine a future where schools are designed to include all students, no matter their physical, mental, or developmental status, where they all get educated in the way that works for their condition. Persons with disabilities, hidden or visible, should be treated with dignity and care, and should have the right to pursue higher education. 

I imagine a future where the creativity of children is not overlooked but encouraged and embraced, and where arts, music, and drama are not exclusive to private schools, but are integral parts of the curriculum, and students’ assessment should not only rely on how much they memorise, but how they are able to develop solutions to the problems of everyday life.

Children are our future, and I only want to see a bright and just future ahead.