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HEAC cancels Jordan classification of universities

By Ana V. Ibáñez Prieto - Jan 03,2018 - Last updated at Jan 03,2018

The Higher Education Accreditation Commission on Tuesday cancelled the Jordan classification of universities published last Wednesday (Photo by Osama Aqarbeh)

AMMAN — The Higher Education Accreditation Commission (HEAC) on Tuesday cancelled the Jordan classification of universities published last Wednesday, according to a press statement by the HEAC. 

The decision came after the results were met with opposition by academics regarding its approach to international rankings, complaining that the classification did not take into consideration “the reality of the universities and the damage to their reputation”.

Higher Education Minister Adel Tweisi expressed his “surprise” over “a classification based on the international rankings” in his Facebook page on the day of its publication, wondering what is “the motive behind this incomplete classification”.

“When the modified system was submitted to the Council of Ministers to pass the authority of the classification to the commission several months ago, it was agreed in the presence of the commission’s president to conduct a classification based on the evaluation of programmes and disciplines, and not the lists,” Tweisi noted, stressing the low number of Jordanian universities that enter the international rankings and the need to “avoid the stigmatisation of universities that will remain at the bottom of the lists because of circumstances that are not hidden to anyone”.

The classification came in accordance with the commission’s Law and the Jordanian Classification System for Universities No.90 of 2017, in addition to the recommendations of the National Strategy for Human Resources Development, according to the press statement issued by HEAC. 

“The ranking aims to develop the education system and enhance the competitiveness of universities,” the statement said, stressing that the classification came after a series of workshops held by the commission with the participation of university presidents and quality assurance officials. 

Faleh Sawair, Director of the University of Jordan’s Quality Assurance Centre, told The Jordan Times that “one of the drawbacks of the classification is that some universities that don’t perform well will be negatively affected in its image and attractiveness to students”, noting that “this is a drawback no system can avoid”.  

“The idea behind this ranking was to give the universities a feedback about their current quality of education based on a number of well selected performance indicators,” Sawair explained, noting that “the feedback shall be sent to each university alone to allow them to work on improving their quality of education and research, rather than cancelling a whole process that took a lot of time, efforts, and good intentions”.

 

“We have decided to grant the universities sufficient time to prepare for classification of programmes and specialties,” HEAC President Bashir Zu’bi told The Jordan Times in a recent interview, noting the commission’s intention to address the Council of Ministers for the amendment of Article 8 of the Jordanian Classification System for Universities in order to start its implementation after five years. 

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