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Int’l organisations to assist universities in linking ICT curricula to market needs

By Mohammad Ghazal - Feb 24,2015 - Last updated at Feb 24,2015

AMMAN — The ICT Association of Jordan ([email protected]) on Tuesday said an agreement signed this week between Jordanian universities and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) will play a key role in reducing unemployment among ICT graduates.

Unemployment among ICT graduates stands at about 25 per cent and addressing this issue through bridging the gap between students’ skills and market needs is a necessity, [email protected] Chairman Jawad Abbassi told The Jordan Times.

On Monday, the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, signed three agreements to enhance the skills of ICT university graduates with a view to boosting their employability, thus stimulating growth in this sector.

The agreements were signed with the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Balqa Applied University and Philadelphia University.

Under these agreements, IFC and the ICT Ministry will help the universities review their curricula in order to include professional competence skills needed by the ICT labour market, making it easier for them to get jobs and retain their positions, according to a ministry statement e-mailed to The Jordan Times. 

The IFC and the ministry will also support graduate offices at the three universities in building alumni tracking systems, enabling these academic institutions to gather more precise information about their graduates’ performance in the labour market and provide other key data.

“There is a big demand for skilled labour among ICT employers,” the statement quoted Sleit as saying.

“The problem of mismatch in skills is a major issue that is affecting the ICT industry,” Abbassi said. 

“At present, companies find it difficult to hire employees who already enjoy the needed skills and they invest large amounts of money and time to train ICT graduates.”

“These deals with the IFC will help boost these skills and save time and effort for companies, and at the same time make it easier for students to find jobs whether locally or abroad,” Abbassi added.

The ICT sector is expanding annually at a rate of 25 per cent, making it the fastest growing industry in Jordan, according to official figures. 

It includes more than 400 companies and contributes up to 14 per cent of the gross domestic product. 

But while around 5,000 people graduate each year from ICT-related disciplines, only 1,000 are able to find jobs in the industry, according to the ministry statement.

The agreements are part of IFC’s E4E Initiative for Arab Youth. 

Active since 2012 in Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco, the programme focuses on partnering with the private and public sectors to help bridge the skills gap between employers and graduates and equip young people with the abilities that employers require.

The project is supported by IFC development partners the Netherlands, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and UKaid. 

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