Secondary to Grade 9 with Elementary, Kindergarten
Salt is about 30kms north west of Amman, set in a steep-sided, narrow valley. During the Ottoman period it was the adminstrative centre for the region. Originally there was a large Christian population.
The name of Salt derives from the ancient Greek ‘Saltos’, meaning thick forest. It is said that when Salt’s own variety of small, pale, flavourful grapes were first dried the new type of raisin was known as sultana.
For many centuries Salt was the only settlement of any size in Transjordan. It was a regional capital under the Ottoman rule and came into its own during the late nineteenth century when merchants from Nablus arrived to expand their trading base east of the river. Into what was then a pleasant village of small dwellings in between precipitous hills, the merchants brought sophisticated architects and masons to work the honey-coloured local limestone for the erection of ornate buildings for both residential and commercial use. Many of these buildings having survived to this day. Trade in Salt boomed and in 1921 the proclamation of the new Emirate of Transjordan took place in the town’s main square. As quickly as the economy developed and flourished, it also went into decline, particularly after 1946 when Amman, known in Gaeco-Roman times as Phila-delphia, was declared the capital at the time of the foundation of the Hasemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Salt church 1936
The first parish in Jordan established by the Patriarch was in Salt. This was in 1866 when people from Salt requested Father Augusto di Actis to travel to Salt to gives the last rites to a Catholic man who was dying.
As a result he developed a strong friendship with the people and was offered a house in which to celebrate Mass for the Christians there. After he had told the Patriarch of this, Mgr Valerga decided that he should stay in Salt and develop the parish for the benefit of the Catholics who were living there. When Fr Moretain arrived in 1869 his first thought was to start the building of a school He found an abandoned house, incompletely built, next to his own dwelling. It was owned by Khalil Nuri Az-Zu’mut who let Fr Moretain have it, thus enabling him to complete the construction. This was the usual type of house for the area, having a couple of rooms in the upper part. Here the priest lived, using one of the rooms for the celebration of Mass, the lower rooms being used for the housing of livestock.
Later Fr Moretain rented a house.It consisted of a room for living, a room for the school and the celebration of Mass and a room for cooking.. It was not a very good solution and later Fr Moretain was able to buy a piece of land. On this he built a church with two aisles, one side for his residence and the other for the school. This had been completed by 1872 when he left Salt to return to Beit Sahour.
Father Moretain writes that in Salt, he had a school for boys who worked hard. Besides the Catholic children there were many Greek Orthodox and a few Muslims. He thought that the school progressed well and every day he taught them the Catechism. When he had the time, he took the children on walks into the country and mountains around Salt. They helped him to look for shells and other geological items to study.
His successor, Father Guiseppe Gatti, due to an increase in the Christian population needed a larger building in which to celebrate Mass. This was constructed and completed in 1888. Using the church built by Fr Moretain for the foundations, this original church became the crypt and a lower room for the housing of cattle and sheep.
Father Gatti also worked towards the foundation of the missions in Ermemin, Fuheis, Karak and later Madaba, Anjara, Ajloun and Hoson.
Originally the schools was for boys only. This continued until 1887, when the Rosary Sisters arrived to start a school for girls, the church had become the Mother Church of the region. Here the sisters stayed in the priests house for ten days in order to get their accomodation, a cave under the church, ready. Religious education was considered, in the Greek Orthodox environment, to be something more useful for men but not for women, so the priest had no contact with the women of his parish. Hence the pressing need for the Sisters of the Rosary to establish themsleves quickly.
Between 1902 and 1904 a boys school was constructed with later, between 1910 and 1912, the house and school for the Sisters of the Rosary being built.
An ex-pupil of the school in Salt, Mr Anis Mouacher, was elected Minister of Communications in the Jordanian Government in 1971.
Salt today is a relatively poor urban area on very hilly, steep sided ground with narrow bustling streets.
The school is in the centre of the city completely surrounded by shops and residential buildings.
It was expanded in 1965 with the construction of extra classrooms. This was followed by an extension with more classrooms in 1985.
In such a confined space there is no further room to expand. As a consequence there is very little playground space, which is totally overlooked by buildings rising up the hill on one side, the high walls of the church and school on two others and shops on each side of the entrance. The newer classrooms have been built over these shops leaving only an entrance archway, leading into the playground from the busy streets outside. Because of the number of pupils, interval breaks during the day must be organised to a staggered timetable.
Salaries are low and more affluent families send their children to other, better equipped, private schools. Much of the local employment is for unskilled workers.
In the early 1900s the school consisted of a kindergarten with three classes. Now the kindergarten is situated in a separate building not far away outside the city in a much better environment. It is a well constructed building with spacious classrooms. Situated on high ground with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside and down to the Jordan valley. There is good playground space outside with inside space for play with shade from the sun in the summer and shelter from the rain and snow in the winter. The Principal has provided the school with good equipment and the education is of a high standard. There are thirty eight children in the Kindergarten of three classes with three teachers plus the Principal and helpers. There is some land here which would be suitable for the construction of an Elementary and Secondary School. This would enable the education of the pupils of the last three grades, ten to twelve, to be completed at one school on the same site.
At present the Elementary and Secondary School in the centre of the city takes from grade one to grade nine. After this the pupils usually go to Fuheis to continure their education in grades ten to twelve.
There are 281 children, 150 boys and 131 girls, of these 170 are Christian and 111 Muslim.
The offices of the Principal, Secretary and the Staffroom are in the original classrooms, which were next to the church. These have recently been restored. The first church, which is now the crypt of the new church, has yet to be renovated. Damage, caused by the devastating earthquake, has not been repaired so the walls are in a poor state of repair. Presently used by the school and parish for celebrations and bazaars, if renovated, it could be a very useful multi purpose hall for both school and parish.
In addition to the classrooms there is a laboratory for science, which is in a poor condition but has quite good equipment. There is laboratory with 15 rather old computers, and a fairly well stocked library. In addition a teacher, employed for the education of children with special needs, is provided with a room for this purpose. On the staff there is a teacher for music and three teachers for English language. Now there are three Rosary Sisters for the teaching of Religion
As there is no hall, the library is also used for meetings with parents, lectures and consultations.
In winter it is only possible to heat the rooms with portable heaters which is not only very inefficient but also dangerous..
In addition to the limitations of size regarding outside playspace, there is no cover for shelter from the rain in the winter or shade from the summer sun.
L I N K S to the schools >>>>>>>>>>