HOSON LATIN SCHOOL
Secondary, Elementary and Kindergarten
Hosson church 1936
Hoson is a small town in the north of Jordan not far from the city of Irbid, which is the second largest city after the capital Amman.
The area is mostly agricultural and very hilly. Close by, between Hoson and Shatana, is a vast deep quarry, or rather system of quarries, covering an extremely wide area. They provide stone for road construction and building work giving employment to many of the population in the town. The economy of the area is generally poor, with many of those who do not work in the quarries having travel to work in Irbid.
The parish was established in 1885 when the majority of the population were of the Orthodox faith, living under Turkish Ottoman rule. There had been some trouble from a Muslim tribe nearby who began to attack the Christians, fearing that they would be dominated by them. The Christian families complained to the Turkish Governor so he sent the troublesome tribe far away and brought in a more peaceful group. The area at that time was about two thirds Christian with an approximate population of 4000 Christian and 1200 Muslim. The Orthodox Christians wanted a priest there. As there was no Orthodox priest available, they asked the Latin Patriarch if he could send one to them.
From its foundation the school was small, situated in the house of the priest with only a few pupils Soon after the parish had been established, the priest received a message from the authorities telling him to close the school and to stop the celebration of Mass. They took the keys of the church and dislodged the bells from the tower, throwing them to the ground in an effort to stop them from being rung. During these Ottoman times there were roughly 75 pupils with 2 teachers, one of whom was the priest.
It was the only school in Hoson, taking pupils of both Christian and Muslim faiths up to Secondary level. The nearest Secondary school in the area was in Irbid.
By 1911 there were 130 students and the salary of the teachers was 1 gold Dinar. It was at this time that the murals inside the church were painted using the local children as models for the faces of the characters in the scenes.
During the period of the Emirate of Jordan, from 1920 to 1940, there were 5 Rosary Sisters and 10 teachers with 283 students. By then the salary of the teachers had risen to 2 Dinar. They came from various places in Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine.
The school continued in the priests house until 1945. It then moved into a new building in front of the church as an elementary school with six classes, boys and girls being taught together.
From 1942 to 1954, after the proclamation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the school grew, becoming mixed and expanding into the secondary grades. There were still five Rosary sisters but the number of teachers had risen to 18 with 450 students. The salaries were based on three grades, lower grades got 13 Dinar, middle grades being paid 75 Dinar and upper grades 95 Dinar. It remained a Secondary school until 1955 with boys and girls up to the 6th Grade. The remaining grades were for girls only. It became very difficult for boys to pass the examination to enter the government schools, so they continued their education by studying in the church being taught by the parish priest. At that time there was no teacher for Maths or Physics so a volunteer teacher, who was a Pharmacist in the town, came to teach maths. By this time boys and girls were taught in separate classrooms. Because the buildings were small, two houses nearby were rented until 1950 for use as classrooms. Teachers who came from far away lived in homes with families.
In the 1950ís, after the establishment of Transjordan, a few English people arrived in the area to work for some of the British enterprises which were starting to develop businesses in the country.
Some of the past pupils from the school became Ministers in the Jordanian Government. After continuing their further education and graduation from Universities in Jordan, Lebanon and the United States,many former pupils have become notable in the various educational, legal and medical professions
Families pay for their children to have a good education and even sell land and posessions or find beter paid employment abroad to provide for this. At times scholarships were available, from various sources, to help the students with their studies.Until about five years ago a Rosary Sister had been Principal with the parish priest as Director. There are very good universities in Jordan, one being n the nearby capital of the Governorate, Irbid.
In present times the Christian and Muslim population have a very close relationship in their life together.
The present school covers KG, Grades 1-12 with girls only in the two top grades, for the school year 2005-2006 the 11th grade will become mixed and the following year the 12th grade will complete the process to becoming a fully mixed Secondary school.
In grades one to twelve there are 625 children, 325 boys and 300 girls, 247 Christian and 78 Muslim. One of the Muslim pupils is the daughter of the President of the Ajlun Governerate area, showing how highly the school is regarded for the quality of the education it provides.
There are 42 teachers, one male and 41 female. 40 Christian and two Muslim teachers, one is part time. Three Rosary Sisters in the parish teach religion in the school. There is also a teacher for children with special needs.
In 2005, with a total of 24 classrooms, Grade 1 has 2 classes, Grade 2 has 3 classes, Grade 3 has 3 classes, Grades 4 to 10 have two classes each, followed by 11 and 12 with 16 girls in each class. The average size of classes is about 27.
There are two computer laboratories with 30 computers, two science laboratories, one for chemistry and biology the other for physics.The library, though well equipped, does not have enough books suitable for a secondary school.There is some art and craft taught but takes place in a small room with insufficient equipment.
Unfortunately no music is taught but there is a teacher for sport.
Downstairs there is a small multipurpose hall, which is used for television and for meetings and the activities of the Scouts.
School begins at 7.45 a.m. Before which there is Mass at 7.15 with voluntary attendance for pupils. Two breaks, staggered, of 15 minutes, grades 1 Ė 4 then grades 5- 12. The school finishes at 2.00 except for the KG which closes at 1.30
There are buses, which convey the children to and from school. It is worth pointing out here that the majority of the Patriarchate schools buses in Jordan are generally in a very bad condition and not safe. They were originally owned by the Patriarchate but have since been sold to individual owners using their own drivers. They are, at present, in a not very good condition and sometimes unsafe.
On the ground floor of the senior school there is a Sewing Centre which is open each day with courses in sewing and embroidery for ladies of the community. The workers also tailor garments to order, make costumes for school events, church vestments and furnishings and other embroidered cloths etc.
Below, on the lower ground floor, there is a clinic with a dentist and doctor who look after the children and, for a small fee, are also available for consultaion by the parents and others in the community. For this facility the students pay 10 JD year and the other people pay 1 JD per visit.
The Kindergarten is situated beneath the priestís house. It has five classrooms, KG 1 has 2 classes and KG2 has three. They are light and airy but lacking in classroom equipment. The outside play area is spacious with an enclosed part, containing a sand pit, with good, suitable climbing and play equipment.
There are 105 children in the KG, 46 boys and 59 girls of whom 75 are Christian and 30 Muslim.
During previous summers the parish priest, Father Imad Twal who was the National Chaplin for the Catholic Scouts and Guides in Jordan, organised Scout camps in the nearby village of Shatana and surrounding area. These camps provided educational and sporting activities, giving the beneficial experience of learning in a lively spiritual and social environment. The activities each day are numerous and of great variety and interest, taking place not only on the camp site but also in the village and surrounding countryside.
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