General Secretariat for the Christian Educational Foundations
in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
Baptism site in Jordan at the Epiphany day (2003)
The General Secretariat for the Christian Educational Foundations in the H. K. of Jordan, (GSCEF), is a non-profit non-governmental (NGO), private ecclesiastical educational foundation, which assembles and represents the Christian educational foundations and schools in Jordan. (The picture on Jordan on this web site is the baptismal site. It is the place where Jordanian Christians go to pray and visit, in memory of the baptism of Jesus Christ in the Holy Jordan River.)
The launching of the GSCEF: The GSCEF was founded in 1990 at the initiative of the Jerusalem Latin Patriarch, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, and the Amman three bishops: the Greek Catholic Melchite, Latin, and Armenian Orthodox.
The ecumenical nature: Generally speaking, the GSCEF in Jordan represents the Christian schools. Membership is open to all Christian schools. Thus the GSCEF has an ecumenical nature that expresses the desire of the faithful to meet and work together in the educational field.
Christian schools in Jordan: The history of the Christian schools in Jordan dates back to the Ottoman era, or the second half of the nineteenth century, before the establishment of the State of Jordan. At that time, the Latin Patriarchate opened schools alongside churches. Ever since they were opened, these schools were national schools that accepted Christian and Muslim students on equal footing. These schools paid special attention to Christian education and Arabic. The Christian schools prospered in the twentieth century. The Greek Catholic Melchite, the Armenian Orthodox, and the religious congregations opened several of these schools. These schools combined constitute the General Secretariat as it stands today.
The term reference of the GSCEF: The General Secretariat stems from the Council of the Bishops of Amman, the capital of Jordan. It seeks to coordinate the functions of the schools and their representation at the Jordanian Ministry of Education. The General Secretariat also seeks to upgrade the educational process in accordance with the national Jordanian educational policy and the vision of the Church.
The regional and international relations of the GSCEF: The General Secretariat is a member of the Regional General Secretariat of the Catholic schools in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The headquarters of MENA is Beirut, Lebanon. The GSCEF is also a member of the Catholic International Education Office (OIEC), which has its headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. The GSCEF maintains educational and co-operative relations with the Secrétariat de Solidarité pour les Ecoles et les Institutions Cahtoliques, which is based in Jerusalem.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: It is part of the Arab World. It has a population of about five million. Muslims constitute nearly 95% of the population while Christians constitute the remaining 5% of the population. Jordan became independent from Britain on 25 May 1946. The country is a constitutional monarchy, which was established after the Great Arab Revolt, which was led against the Ottoman Empire by Sharif Husayn Bin Ali. Ever since the declaration of independence, four kings ruled the country. Today’s monarch is King Abdullah II Ibn El Hussein. The capital of Jordan is the city of Amman, which has a population of two million people.
The GSCEF and the schools under its jurisdiction adopts the message of the school that was included in the documents of the General Pastoral Plan of the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land (the General Pastoral Plan, Pages 115-123). This plan was issued by the Diocesan Synod of the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land in 2000)
"The Church's involvement in the field of education is demonstrated especially by the Catholic school. No less than other schools does the Catholic school pursue cultural goals and the natural development of youth. But it has several distinctive purposes. It aims to create for the school community an atmosphere enlivened by the gospel spirit of freedom and charity. It aims to help the adolescent in such a way that the development of his own personality will be matched by the growth of that new creation which he became by baptism. It strives to relate all human culture eventually to the news of salvation, so that the light of faith will illumine the knowledge, which students gradually gain of the world, of life, and of mankind. So it is, that while the Catholic school fittingly adjusts itself to the circumstances of advancing times, it is educating its students to promote effectively the welfare of the earthly city, and preparing them to serve the advancement of the reign of God. The purpose in view is that by living an exemplary and apostolic life, the Catholic graduate can become, as it were, the saving leaven of the human family"
Consequently, the General Secretariat’s perception of educational work in schools is as follows according to the General Pastoral Plan):
A school: that is it is judged by the same educational, pedagogical and cultural criteria as all the other schools in an ever-developing society.
A Christian school: that is it places Christian faith and Christian values at the centre of its life and aims, so that believers within its precincts are formed to promote effectively the welfare of the earthly city, and to serve the advancement of the reign of God, becoming the saving leaven of the human family. The Christian spirit must be imprinted on all the components of the Christian school.
In a society of many Churches and many religions: The Catholic School cannot ignore the social reality in which it exists, especially as it is a school, which, in addition to Christian pupils, is open to all. Our society contains a plurality of Churches and religions. The school has to take this reality into account, however, it must do so in such a way that, on the one hand, it does not lose its Christian identity and originality, and, on the other hand, it understands this reality in order to incorporate it organically into its identity, mission and educational vision.
The mission of the GSCEF and its schools can be summed in the following points according to the General Pastoral Plan:
To teach: The Catholic School aims at acquiring for its pupils the knowledge necessary to develop their intellectual abilities and prepare them to fulfill their role in society and in its progress.
Education: Teaching is not separate from education, which strives to develop the personality of the pupils so that they are able to analyze, understand, evaluate, critique, choose, decide and act. Catechesis, being one of the constituent factors of human life, falls within this educational goal.
Culture: The school is a place of culture in all senses of the word ‘culture’. It puts the pupils in touch with the general human cultural heritage as well as the heritage of the society in which they live. It develops a vision of the relationship between faith and culture. It acts in order to discover the cultural gifts of the pupils as well as working to develop modes of thought and behavior, which help to define refined human culture in local society in all areas of life.
Overall human formation: The school strives to develop all aspects of human life, intellectual, emotional, psychological, creative, moral and religious.
The groups of schools forming the GSCEF:
- Latin Patriarchate, 24 schools.
- Greek Catholic Melchite, 6 schools.
- Rosary Sisters, 6 schools.
- Latin Congregations, 3 schools.
- Greek Catholic Melchite Congregations, 4 schools.
- Armenian Orthodox, 1 school.
- Armenian Catholic, 1 school.
- Evangelical Nazarene, 1 school.
- Schools owned by Christian individuals, 4 schools.
These schools include in one way or another the various phases of education, which, in Jordan, is divided into three phases: Kindergarten, Basic from the first to the tenth elementary grade, and secondary, which are the first and second secondary classes. There are nearly 24951 students, with 1673 teachers and administrative personnel employed by these schools, in addition to the priests, monks and nuns.
The Secretary General: His Beatitude the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem in consultation with the bishops of Amman appoints the secretary general of the Christian schools. Father Halim Njeim, 1990-1993, Father Hanna Jallouf 1993-2001, and Father Hanna Kildani since 2001 consecutively occupied this post.
The General Assembly: The General Assembly shall be formed of all the principals of schools affiliated with the General Secretariat and shall meet once each year.
The Administrative Board: It consists of the representatives of the groups of the schools that are members of the GSCEF. It meets periodically in accordance with its bylaws, and shall be formed as follows:
1- The Secretary General as Chairman
2- The Principal of Terra Sancta College as Deputy Chairman
3- A Representative of the Rosary Sisters Schools as member
4- The Principal of Our Lady of Nazareth School as member.
5- Director General of the Schools the Greek Catholic Melchite as member.
6- The Principal of the Franciscan Sisters School as member.
7- A Representative of the Schools owned by Christian individuals as member.
8- The Secretary of the GSCEF as rapporteur.
Secretary of the GSCEF: The secretary shall undertake the management of the procedural affairs of the General Secretariat and the execution of the administrative board decisions, and the follow up of the Committee of the Health Insurance Fund. Mr. Ghazi al-Sayegh 1990-1993, and Mr. Edward Ebeid since 1993, consecutively occupied this post.
The Committee of the Health Insurance Fund: This committee consists of representatives of the schools. The General Secretary is the chairman of this committee, which shall meet monthly to discuss and approve the health insurance reclaims by the subscribers of the insurance.
Membership: Each Christian school, irrespective of its level or Church affiliation, shall be regarded as member of the General Secretariat. So, the membership is available to all Christian schools, as we believe of ecumenical dimension and mission of the GSCEF.
The GSCEF shall undertake the following duties:
Undertakes coordination among the institutions and schools affiliated with it.
Undertakes coordination between the group of the Christian educational institutions and the Ministry of Education.
Represents the Christian institutions and schools affiliated with it at the national and regional events.
Undertake the duty of training of teachers. The General Secretariat has in fact held 15 training sessions from 1990 until 2005 on the various fields of education, and 990 teachers benefited from these sessions.
Management of the Health Fund: The GSCEF undertakes the management and the promotion of the health insurance for all the personnel in its institutions. It offers two plans for insurance. One is a partial insurance and the other is comprehensive. There are 1600 school personnel and their families, who have subscribed to the Insurance Fund. Ever since its establishment, the Health Fund viewed 5000 cases of illness submitted to it. The Health Insurance Committee meets once a month. It consists of the representatives of the educational institutions that have joined the secretariat. The Health Fund spends from US $5,000 to US $18,000 per month as expenses on the treatment of the insured persons. The Fund also offers its insurance services to the priests, monks and nuns who are not associated with the education sector. The budget of the Insurance Fund consists of the subscriptions of the working personnel and the schools they are employed with. The Health Insurance Fund is a non-profit, charitable and cooperative organization. The General Secretariat does not do business with the commercial insurance companies to insure the employees of the schools, but acts itself as the insurer. This has made the cost of insurance within the financial reach of the employees and their schools, which participate in covering the cost of subscription to the insurance.
The GSCEF shall carry out several periodic activities in cooperation with the schools, such as honoring the personnel of the schools of the General Secretariat. Each five years, those with a school service of more than 25 years are honored. A total number of 270 school employees have so far been honored in two installments. The General Secretariat also honors the outstanding students in the general secondary phase of education on annual basis. It also organizes the sports activities among the schools of the General Secretariat.
The General Secretariat shall distribute whatever is needed of stationery, particularly for administrative and educational work.
The first and permanent project of The GSCEF is the human being and his development from all aspects through the work of the schools associated with the General Secretariat, which is executing an ambitious policy that seeks to build a bountiful homeland and a faithful citizen.
The offices The GSCEF are rented and located in al-Salam building of Terra Sancta College in Amman. The General Secretariat hopes to establish a permanent headquarters that can serve its objectives, particularly the training of teachers, all the more so because training is still being done in the school halls. The permanent location will include offices, training halls, sports facilities, the library… etc.
Launching a fund for helping the students of limited income to join school and university education. The idea here is that no student would be denied the opportunity of education in the Christian schools because of his lack of financial resources.
Location: al-Salam Building, Jabal Luwebdah, Amman, Jordan.
Postal Address: The General Secretariat for the Christian Educational Foundations in the H. K. of Jordan Amman, Jordan, P.O.Box: 9552, Zip code: 11191, Amman, Jordan.
Telephone and Fax: ++ 962 6 4625300
Mobile: ++ 962 79 5600638/++962 7
- Fuheis Latin Secondary School (Arabic): www.latinalfuheis.edu.jo
- Wassieh Latin Patriarchate High School (Arabic & English): www.abouna.org
- Contemporaneous Christianity in the Holy Land (Arabic & English): www.geocities.com/modernjopa
- Fuheis News (Arabic): www.geocities.com/akhbarfu