From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Jordan see Category:Jordan
Partners situated in Jordan
Jordan in a nutshell
Jordan (Arabic: الأردنّ al-'Urdunn), officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, is an Arab country in Southwest Asia spanning the southern part of the Syrian Desert down to the Gulf of Aqaba. It shares borders with Syria to the north, Iraq to the north-east, the West Bank (Palestine) and Israel to the west, and Saudi Arabia to the east and south. It shares control of the Dead Sea with Israel, and the coastline of the Gulf of Aqaba with Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Much of Jordan is covered by desert, particularly the Arabian Desert; however the north-western area, with the Jordan River, is regarded as part of the Fertile Crescent.
The capital city of Amman is in the north-west.
The population of Jordan is just over 6 million - thus rather similar in size to many smaller European countries. Jordan is classified by the World Bank as a "lower middle income country." The per-capita GDP was approximately USD $5,100 for 2007 and 14.5% of the economically active population, on average, was unemployed in 2003. Education and literacy rates and measures of social well-being are very high compared to other countries with similar incomes. Jordan's population growth rate is high, but has declined in recent years, to approximately 2.8% currently. One of the most important factors in the government’s efforts to improve the well-being of its citizens is the macroeconomic stability that has been achieved since the 1990s. However, unemployment rates remain high, with the official figure standing at 12.5%, and the unofficial around 30%. Rates of price inflation are low, at 2.3% in 2003, and the currency has been stable with an exchange rate fixed to the U.S. dollar since 1995.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a constitutional monarchy with representative government. The reigning monarch is the head of state, the chief executive and the commander-in-chief of the armed forces. The king exercises his executive authority through the prime ministers and the Council of Ministers, or cabinet. The cabinet, meanwhile, is responsible before the elected House of Deputies which, along with the House of Notables (Senate), constitutes the legislative branch of the government. The judicial branch is an independent branch of the government.
Administratively, Jordan is divided into 12 provinces called governorates, each headed by a governor appointed by the king. They are the sole authorities for all government departments and development projects in their respective areas.
Some 95-98% of Jordan's population are Arabs (60-80% of the population is Syro-Palestinian), the remaining non-Arabs of the population are mainly Circassians, Chechens, Armenians,Kurds and Gypsies, but have integrated into the Jordanian and Arab cultures in the country.
The number of Lebanese permanently settling in Jordan since the 2006 Lebanon War has not been established, and is estimated to be very little. According to Labour Ministry figures, the number of guest workers in the country now stands just over 300,000 - most are Egyptians who makeup 227,000 of the foreign workers, and the remaining 36,150 workers are mostly from Bangladesh, China, Sri Lanka and India. Since the Iraq War many Christians (Assyrians and Chaldeans) from Iraq have settled permanently or temporarily in Jordan.
Jordanian Christians permanently residing in Jordan form approximately 6% of the population and are allocated respective seats in parliament (The Department of Statistics has released no information about the religion distribution from the census of 2004). Most Christians belong to the Greek Orthodox church (called "Ruum Urthudux" in Arabic). The rest are Roman Catholics (called "Lateen"), Eastern Catholics who are Melkites (called "Ruum Katoleek" to distinguish them from "Western Catholics"), and various Protestant communities including Baptists.
Christians in Jordan are of many nationalities, as evinced, for example, by the Catholic mass being celebrated in Arabic, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Tagalog and Sinhala, as well as in Iraqi dialects of Arabic.
Other Jordanians belonging to religious minorities include adherents to the Druze and Bahá'í Faith. The Druze are mainly located in the Eastern Oasis Town of Azraq and the city of Zarka, while the Village of Adassiyeh bordering the Jordan Valley is home to Jordan's Bahá'í community.
The official language is Arabic, but English is used widely in commerce and government and among educated people. English is widely understood among most Jordanians, although the degree to which varies with educational level and demographic concentration. Middle and upper class citizens tend to be fluent and consider English as their second language. Arabic and English are obligatory studies at public and private schools.
French is taught at some public and private schools but is not obligatory. However, a vibrant Francophone community seems to have emerged in modern Jordan. Radio Jordan offers radio services in Arabic, English and French.
Jordan education policy
The Ministry of Education (MoE) is responsible for the pre-primary, primary and secondary levels of education. The post-secondary education is the responsibility of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR). This Ministry includes the Higher Education Council and the Accreditation Council. The MoHESR has outlined a National Strategy for Higher Education for the years 2007-2012.
Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) at the post-basic level (excluding community colleges) as well as applied vocational education, administered by the Vocational Training Corporation(VTC), is under the authority of the Ministry of Labor.
In 2003 the share of budget dedicated to education was 6.4 percent of total government expenditure; education spending as a percentage of GDP was 13.5 percent in the same year. At 8.9 percent, Jordan has the third lowest illiteracy rate in the Arab world. The primary gross enrollment ratio has increased from 71 percent in 1994 to 98.2 percent in 2006. Transition rate to secondary school, during the same period, has increased from 63 percent to 97 percent and transition rates to higher education have varied between 79 to 85 percent of secondary school graduates. Along with these high enrollment and transition rates, Jordan has achieved a 90 percent parity in literacy and full parity in primary and secondary enrollment.
Jordan is ranked 90 out of 177 in the Human Development Index. Despite strained resources, the Ministry of Education developed highly advanced national curriculum and many other nations in the region have developed their education system using Jordan as a model. Jordan ranks number one in the Arab World. The Jordanian Ministry of Education is now making it mandatory for students to be computer literate and able to apply their studies in computers to their regular studies, most especially the scientific and mathematical courses. Its educational system is of international standards and its secondary education program is accepted in world-class universities.
Schools in Jordan
The structure of the educational system in Jordan consists of a two-year cycle of pre-school education, ten years of compulsory basic education, and two years of secondary academic or vocational education after which the students sit for a General Certificate of Secondary Education Exam—Tawjihi.
Basic Education is a 10-year compulsory level of education. Study books are standard books distributed by the Ministry of Education.In Jordan education is free in primary and secondary and is made compulsory for all through the age of fifteen.
More than half of the Jordan population is below the age of 30 years. About 42.2 percent are 14 years or younger, whereas 31.4 percent fall between 15–29 years of age; almost one-third of the Jordanians are enrolled in educational facilities. As of 2007/2008 the gross primary enrollment rate is 95.7 percent which is higher than the regional average of 93 percent. Jordan also ensures a high level of gender parity in access to basic services; the gender parity index for gross enrollment ratio in primary education is 0.98, better than other Arab countries. It is also one of the few Arab countries that have very small disparity in primary school attendance rates among urban and rural areas.This is mainly because public financing for basic schooling is more pro-poor than that for any other education level. Schools in Jordan have two main categories, public and private. The private education sector accommodates more than 31.14 percent of the student population in the capital of Jordan, Amman. This sector is still heavily taxed, up to 25%++, although it takes a high burden off the government of the Kingdom, which makes school fees relatively high, starting at $1000, and going up to $7000. These values for private education fees are extremely high when compared to the average family incomes.
Students in this education level are required to take 9 subjects; Arabic, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Computer Studies, Earth Science, Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. Islamic studies are also mandatory for all students except for Christian students. The Secondary Education level consists of two years' study for students aged 16 to 18 who have completed the basic cycle (10 years) and comprises two major tracks:
Enrollments rates at secondary level have remained fairly constant since 2002 at around 89 percent. In terms of enrollment by gender, girls’ enrollment rate is higher than the enrollment rates for boys. In 2007 there were 91 percent females enrolled in secondary education compared to 88 percent of males. As can be seen from the chart below, the secondary enrollment rates are higher than the regional average by almost 25 percentage points. The enrollment in secondary vocational education as a share of total secondary enrollment declined from 18 percent in 2000 to 12 percent in 2005. This shows that government needs to put in greater efforts to realign the national vocational program with reforms initiated by the Ministries of Labor and Social Affairs and Higher Education and Scientific Research to impart skills sought after by employers when hiring new workers.
Jordan still needs to focus on improving the quality of primary and secondary education levels. In international assessments, such as TIMSS and PISA, Jordan has performed well in comparison to other Arab countries, but it falls below many countries with comparable incomes and education expenditures. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) Report in 2003, ranked Jordanian students scores to be 22 points above international average in science and mathematics. However, up to 30 percent of students drop out before the completion of the 12th grade. Despite highly equitable primary education, secondary level and vocational training still reflect gender and income distortions. Completion and transition rates to tertiary education are highly correlated with family incomes; there are 3 times more students at the university level from families in upper two income quintiles.
UNRWA in Jordan
UNRWA operates one of the largest school systems in the Middle East providing basic and preparatory education to Palestinian refugees for nearly five decades. The Agency provides basic education free of charge to all Palestinian refugee children in the area of operations, including Jordan. There are also vocational and training courses provided in eight training centers, two of which are in Jordan, for the past four decades. The Agency has established an Institute of Education, which is headquartered in Amman, to provide training to the UNRWA teaching staff. In Jordan, not all refugee children attend UNRWA schools. Most of the refugees have access to government schools; therefore a number of refugees send their children to nearby government schools. Most of the UNRWA schools run on more than single shift. Approximately 83 percent of UNRWA elementary schools and 62 percent of UNRWA preparatory schools are operated in full double shifts. The Jordan Field has the highest percentage of double shift schools, averaging about 93 percent.
After completing the 8 or 10 years of basic education, Jordanians are free to choose any foreign secondary education program instead of the Tawjihi examinations (8 for IGCSE, 10 for SAT and IB). Such programmes are usually offered by private schools. These programmes include: IGCSE, SAT and International Baccalaureate
Upon graduation, the ministry of Higher Education, through a system similar to UK tariff points, transforms the grades/marks of these foreign educational programmes into the same marks used in grading Tawjihi students. This system is controversial, both as to the conversion process and the number of places allocated to non-Tawjihi applicants.
Another source of trouble is the system used to transform exam results of foreign education programmes into the Tawjihi scale, which is expressed as a percentage. Again, some see the system as fair or overly lenient to non-Tawjihi graduates, while others see it as unfair.
Just over 2.5% of Jordan's total population is enrolled at university, a proportion comparable to the United Kingdom. Access to higher education is open to holders of the General Secondary Education Certificate who can then choose between private Community Colleges, public Community Colleges or universities (public and private). The credit-hour system, which entitles students to select courses according to a study plan, is implemented at universities. Higher education system of the country has evolved considerably in the past five years. But still a lot needs to be done to keep up with a rapidly growing knowledge based economy. In years between 2000/2001 and 2006/2007, Jordan has seen an increased demand for higher education with enrollments growing at an annual rate of 14 percent from 77,841 to 218,900students. It has tertiary gross enrollment levels of about 40 percent which is higher than the regional average, as can be seen from the chart below. Three new public universities have been established recently reaching a total of 10 public universities in the country.
Private universities have seen a rapid increase in enrollments as well. Since 2000 to 2006, enrollment in 12 private universities grew by about 18 percent annually from 36,642 to 55,744. However, enrollment numbers in community colleges declined from 30,000 to 26,215.This decrease in enrollment rates reflect a bias to a 4 year university education and also the fact that quality and level of training given in these colleges is not what is in demand in the labor market of a knowledge based economy. With increasing number of students going for the attainment of higher education, the government needs to allocate greater resources in improving the current higher education system and also to improve access of good universities for the rising population. Even the private universities have to change some of their admission policies. The enrollment cap in the private universities restricts the ability of university to absorb increasing number of higher education students. Projection for the number of students entering university is 92,000 per year by 2013 up from 50,469 in 2005.
University Level Studies
Non-University Level Studies
Non-university and vocational studies are offered in community colleges, access to which is open to holders of all types of general secondary education certificates. The two-to three-year programme encompasses many fields, such as Arts, Science, Management, Business Administration and Engineering. As of 1997, all public Community Colleges are under the supervision of Al-Balqa Applied University. At the end of the two- or three-year course, students sit for a comprehensive examination (Al-Shamel). Those who pass are awarded the Associate Degree / Diploma.
Lifelong Higher Education
Lifelong education is offered at public and private universities, public and private community colleges, the Jordan Institute of Public Administration, The Jordan Geographic Center and The Royal Scientific Society, as well as in other institutions. Courses are offered in Engineering, Industry, Agriculture, Foreign Languages, Computer Sciences, Managerial Sciences, Secretarial Studies, Physical Education and subjects that can help the local community. Courses last between one week and six months at the end of which students obtain a Certificate of Attendance or Achievement. The qualifications needed depend on the subject and level of the course. Some are designed for specific occupations, in which case a work experience in the relevant field is needed to attend such courses, such as the books of Nadia Saqer.
Universities in Jordan
See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_universities_in_Jordan for a list, but incomplete, and with many missing links.
Yahoo lists the following nine, probably deemed to be more important:
There is also the Jordan Branch of the Arab Open University - http://www.aou.edu.jo/
Finally note the German-Jordanian University - http://www.gju.edu.jo/Default.aspx?lang=en
Private universities include:
Polytechnics in Jordan
Some in the above list might more properly be described as polytechnics.
The Bologna Process
A seminar was held on this in 2008 at the German-Jordanian University.
Administration and finance
Towards the information society
Information society strategy
There are initiatives in schools e-learning that are well known to analysts but less is known on HE e-learning.
The Jordan Education Initiative for schools is described at http://newsroom.cisco.com/dlls/2005/ts_012805.html
The recent education reforms started in the early 1990s. This reform process was accelerated under His Majesty King Abdullah II in early 2001 with a vision to make Jordan the regional technology hub and an active player in the global economy. The National Vision and Mission for Education, as developed and endorsed in late 2002, states the desired direction for general education in the country. The two major consultative documents, that helped shape the national vision and also set directions for educational reform initiatives, were Jordan Vision 2020 and the 2002 Vision Forum for the Future of Education. These documents spanned kindergarten to lifelong continuing education. The overall strategy proposed by the Forum was endorsed by the Economic Consultative Council (ECC) in October 2002. The national development strategy and the Forum results were consolidated into specific development plans, the Social and Economic Transformation Plan, the General Education Plan 2003-08.
In July 2003, the Government of Jordan launched an ambitious program in the entire MENA region a 10 year multi-donor Education Reform for the Knowledge Economy Program (ErfKE) of which the World Bank provided US$120 million. The goal of the program was to re-orient the education policies and programs in line with the needs of a knowledge based economy, improve the physical learning environment in most schools and promote early childhood education. This first phase of program is from 2003–2009, closing in June 2009.
Virtual Campuses in HE
Interesting Virtual Campus Initiatives
The Arab Open University has a regional centre in Jordan.
The Hashemite University has an active e-learning operation and seems to be doing as much as many European universities - see the presentation at http://linc.mit.edu/conference/presentations/mosleh_akhasawneh.ppt
Jordan University of Science and Technology was a partner in the Mediterranean Virtual University.
Al-Balqa' Applied University, a public university, is also active in e-learning.