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On visit to Argentina, Queen Rania of Jordan promotes quality education
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, 23 October 2008 – Children at a UNICEF-supported school in Argentina received a royal visitor this week, when Her Majesty Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan dropped by.
In her role as UNICEF's Eminent Advocate for Children, Queen Rania learned about a new programme that allows teachers, administrators and families to self-evaluate educational practices at the Paula Albarracín de Sarmiento school, and make quick changes when improvements are needed.
"The job of reforming education is one that never ends," said Queen Rania. "It is one that involves all partners. Teachers, students, families, communities, the government – even the private sector has to be involved in the process."
During her visit, Queen Rania met with the Governor of the province of Buenos Aires, Daniel Scioli; the province's Director General of Culture and Education, Mario Oporto; and UNICEF Education Specialist Elena Duro.
"For UNICEF, Her Majesty's visit is very important to focus attention on the importance of getting a quality education in Latin America, and to promote a public education that is free and obligatory for everyone, starting from kindergarten, through primary and high school," said Ms. Duro.
Queen Rania sat in on two classes and offered the students a brief lesson in Arabic, teaching them a few basic greetings. The children also had the opportunity to ask her about what life is like in Jordan, and about her efforts to support education for all children.
Towards the end of her visit, Queen Rania emphasized the importance of empowering schools.
"Improving the quality of education is a challenge for us all – governments, teachers, families and children," said the queen, who is a mother of four. She went on to highlight Argentina's achievement in closing in on the Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education, though the country still faces the challenges of high drop-out rates and inequities in the quality of schooling.
Queen Rania's next stop was a visit to the Boca Juniors football club, a UNICEF partner. She participated in a children's workshop about peaceful coexistence and education. Later, she met with two of the club's top players, Martin Palermo and Hugo Ibarra.
"Argentina understands that education is the foundation for healthy, strong nations and the basis for peace, justice and stability," Her Majesty noted.