• Jordan has strong rates of literacy and school enrollment, but its gap between high- and low-performing students is wider than in most countries in the Middle East or North Africa, according to the World Bank.
• Basic education, grades 1-10, is compulsory and free in Jordan. For secondary education, grades 11 and 12, students are tracked into either an academic or a vocational stream. Secondary education is also free.
• Enrollment in primary school was 90 percent in 2002, according to World Bank statistics. In the same year, enrollment in grades 7-12 was 80 percent.
• About 9 percent of Jordanians 15 or older are illiterate, compared with 31 percent of people in the same age bracket in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
• Jordan’s 8th graders participated in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study in 2003. Although Jordan scored below the international average in math on the examination, it outperformed Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, the Palestinian Authority, and Saudi Arabia. The only participating Middle Eastern country that scored higher than Jordan in math was Lebanon.
• In science, Jordan scored slightly higher than the international average and higher than all other participating Middle Eastern countries.
—Mary Ann Zehr