• Short Summary

    King Hussein of Jordan officially opened the Polytechnic Institute in Amman on Sunday (15 January).?

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    King Hussein of Jordan officially opened the Polytechnic Institute in Amman on Sunday (15 January). Then, afterwards, the King and his family took part in the country's Arbour Day celebrations by planting trees in the Institute grounds.

    SYNOPSIS: Local officials gathered outside the Polytechnic Institute awaiting King Hussein. The Polytechnic, which was established in 1975 as part of a three-year plan, stands in a suburb of the Jordanian capital, Amman. To mark the official opening, King Hussein unveiled a commemorative plaque.

    The building - partly financed by the International Bank -- cost about one million dollars. The complex, which includes workshops, an administration block, a library and cafeteria, covers about 20 hectares (47 acres). The Polytechnic, headed by Dr. Fayez Soheimat, runs three-year graduate courses. Students who complete the courses will emerge with engineering and chemistry qualifications. King Hussein toured laboratories, and was introduced to lecturers. Jordan with a population of just under three million, has two universities attended by about 6,000 students. The country spends seven per cent of its budget on education.

    After completing his tour, King Hussein left the building to stroll a short way to launch the tree planting celebrations.

    In Jordan, Arbour Day is marked by a national one-day holiday. It is part of a nation-wide scheme aimed at promoting soil cultivation and desert reclamation. The country has been celebrating the day for 38 years. King Hussein, assisted by his children, Prince Ali and Princess Haya, started the celebrations by planting trees. This was the signal for other trees to be planted throughout the country.

    The Jordanian Ministry of Agriculture is this year planning to plant about 2,000 hectares (5,000 acres) with five million trees. In many areas of Jordan, natural vegetation has been destroyed and imports of timber have increased.

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