Worried that Jordan’s education system was failing to fully prepare children for the demands of the modern world, Rasha al-Khateeb decided to launch MindShift Academy earlier this year.
Rasha al-Khateeb is concerned Jordan’s youth risk being left behind if they fail to learn how to think independently and critically.
The 17-year-old hopes her MindShift Academy, with it workshops built around teaching basic life skills and entrepreneurship, can be part of the solution.
How did the idea for the MindShift Academy come about?
Before attending the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in San Francisco last year, MindShift Academy was a small idea in my mind. At the conference there were many mentee-to-mentor sessions, and during one of the sessions I was with a mentor from Google who encouraged me to go ahead and do it. After meeting many entrepreneurs at the conference I decided to establish the academy. So when I got back I found the team, two girls who are the same age as me and we had the first course which was over six Saturdays that started at the end of February.
What are the skills that your academy helps youth to acquire?
Through the academy we give life and entrepreneurship skills by instructors for students between eight and 14 years old. And we will start with an initiative in cooperation with the Ahli Bank end of July whereby we will help students from refugee camps—starting with Souf in Jerash—to acquire these skills as well.
Why is such an academy important in Jordan?
I got the idea after experiencing the education system myself and noticing that it’s all based on memorization. I took the IGCSE international qualification, which is based on the British system. Even the IGCSE has a lot of memorization. So I felt that students did not benefit from the education system like they are supposed to. There were no soft skills or critical thinking. In the future we also want to include coding courses, things that would benefit students in real life, basically.
Where do you hope to see the academy and how would you like it to grow?
We give courses at the King Hussein Business Park in cooperation with Zain and the Ahli Bank. All of the courses include new ideas and a lot of research. I want us to grow further. The main goal is to include other governorates so we can reach all students.