For Immediate Release
Office of the First Lady
May 22, 2005
Mrs. Bush's Remarks to the Press in Amman, Jordan
Swaifiyeh Secondary School for Girls
9:55 A.M. (Local)
MRS. BUSH: I just wanted to tell you all what a great visit we've had this morning to the school. We've seen a lot of collaboration between American computer companies, the government of Jordan, the Ministry of Education, French computer companies, as well. And what we've seen are links, opportunities for links between older students and classes all over the world, including, of course, classes in the United States. We've seen younger children in the first classroom, just ! really learning the computer, doing simple lessons, the days of the week, but doing those by being able to move the words of the days of the week up into the spot on the computer.
So they're just starting to be able to use the computer, and, at the same time, learn the basic things that you learn in your first years of school. And then the other students -- who, by the way, speak English, most of them, very, very good English, I might add -- are studying on the internet. There are new chat rooms where they can talk about the lessons that they're studying that other countries -- children in other countries are also studying.
So it was a very, very encouraging morning. I saw the "My Arabic Library," which is a project of the United States to translate very well-known children's literature into Arabic for Arabic students to read. And by the way, each country who has an Arabic library also went through the titles and chose the titles that they thought were most appropriate for their students. So I saw the first part of that library, including a book on sharks. All children are interested in sharks. I know this from being a children's librarian.
I also especially want to thank His Majesty King Abdullah and Her Majesty Queen Rania for hosting me and for your friendship with the United States. I've had a really wonderful visit to Jordan, and I want to thank them very much for being such gracious hosts.
Q Mrs. Bush, do you see this as a model for other schools --
MRS. BUSH: It's a model for schools all over the world, really, and, in fact, I think even for schools in the United States. Many schools in the United States, as you know, have computers, but not all. And one of the things I saw was distance learning, where the teacher was in the data center and the students were here. And I think that's very important, especially in rural America. I know in small towns in Texas, it's difficult to get a physics teacher or a teacher in specialized subjects, and distance learning is very important there, and, in fact, use professors from Texas universities to teach high school classes.
So I think this is a really good example for the world, to see the way students are linked to each other. I especially like the idea of American students being able to develop friendships with students all over the world. I think it's very important for our world, for youth everywhere, to have the opportunity to get to know each other, to find out how many things we have in common, how many things link us, no matter what our religion or our race or our culture is; in so many ways we're alike because we're human beings.
Thank you very much.
END 9:59 A.M. (Local)