His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday extended a letter to Jordanian students and teachers on the beginning of the new scholastic year, expressing his support and recognition of their significant role in building the country. In the letter, which was read yesterday in the Kingdom’s schools, the King said Jordanian students, military personnel, labourers, farmers and teachers are “the most important pillar in our national formula”. His Majesty described teachers as “the essence of the teaching process”, adding that the decision to establish a teachers association attests to his respect and support for this category of civil servants and their profession. “We are proud and supportive of teachers’ commitment to their profession and their willingness to offer their expertise [to their students] as they carry out their noble humanitarian mission,” King Abdullah said in the letter addressing the country’s teachers. From modest beginnings, Jordan today boasts 6,000 schools with 1.7 million students, along with kindergartens, across the Kingdom, the King said in the letter. King Abdullah underscored the role of schools, teachers and students in bolstering the national collective identity and maintaining the unified Arab social fabric. The King also highlighted contributions by civic society institutions and the private sector to rehabilitate schools’ infrastructure, empower teachers and grant scholarships, in reference to the Madrasati initiative led by Her Majesty Queen Rania, under which private donors undertake to fund rehabilitation of public schools to improve the learning environment. “This form of strategic national partnerships is an indication of the deep understanding that the positive impact of investing in the Jordanian people will reflect on all economic sectors and various aspects of life,” he said. His Majesty concluded by commending the efforts of parents for what they do to prepare their children to serve their country. Also on Sunday, His Majesty instructed the government to exempt public school students from fees for the 2011/12 school year, a Royal Court statement said. This is the fourth consecutive school year in which public school students have been exempted from annual fees upon the King’s directives. Also yesterday, the King received a letter of reply from Minister of Education Tayseer Nueimi, in which he underlined his ministry’s commitment to providing students with a better school environment, highlighting the King’s support for teachers economically, socially and professionally.