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Projected programme to offer university students practical experience in parallel to theoretical education

By Merza Noghai - Sep 03,2016 - Last updated at Sep 03,2016

Randolph Galla, dual studies adviser at the German-Jordanian University's Office of Industrial Links, delivers a lecture at the university, on Thursday (Photo courtesy of GJU)

AMMAN — Students at the German-Jordanian University (GJU) may have an opportunity to enrol in dual study programmes (DSPs) to acquire practical experience parallel to their theoretical education.

The GJU’s Office of Industrial Links (OIL) on Thursday organised a workshop to brief faculty members and representatives of some 70 major companies on DSPs for bachelor’s degree students, which the university is planning to launch in the near future.

Randolph Galla, dual studies adviser at the OIL, delivered a presentation on DSPs, which, he said, could help narrow the gap between higher education outcomes and labour market needs.

“Dual studies may also help create new jobs according to the needs of the industrial sector, and thus contribute to combating youth unemployment,” Galla added.

He said that the establishment of DSPs in Germany was a response to the needs of the labour market, and that these programmes were, and still are, aimed at addressing the shortage of employees with both practical and theoretical skills.

“Dual education is regarded as the main reason for the low rate of youth unemployment in Germany,” the adviser noted.

DSPs comprise theoretical learning at the university and practical training at sponsoring companies, at a suggested monthly salary of JD250, paid by the firm. 

If students refuse a job offer from the company that trained them, he said, they must return the payment they received during the training period.

In the first three to five years after graduation, 73 per cent of dual education graduates in Germany continue working for the companies they trained with, Galla highlighted.

“A typical structure of dual studies can be divided into 40 per cent academic study at the university, 40 per cent to acquire work experience in a company and 20 per cent for acquiring other skills, such as learning a foreign language,” he explained.

Dual education students at GJU may also spend a semester working in a company in Germany, Galla added.

Companies can benefit from DSPs by having “highly motivated and qualified students” who enjoy practical experience and at the same time are capable of applying theoretical knowledge for management and problem solving, the adviser said.

“Partner companies may also have access to academic resources at the university and cooperate in research projects... [by] benefiting from the university’s research facilities,” Galla noted.

Challenges in applying DSPs include signing contracts between the GJU and companies, and between companies and students, as well as providing students with good training and salaries from companies throughout the programme, which may extend to five years, he indicated.

At the beginning of the workshop, GJU President Natheer Abu Obeid said universities must add to their roles in education, research and knowledge to contribute to supporting economic development.

“Transferring dual education from Germany to Jordan is a big challenge and cannot be applied in the Kingdom without amending it in a way that conforms to the Jordanian society,” Abu Obeid highlighted.

The president also said the university cannot take the first step in implementing dual education except by establishing partnerships with the industrial sector, so as to achieve “an industrial revolution in Jordan and the entire region”.

Dorit Schumann, GJU vice president for international affairs, reviewed a case study from Germany, and cited statistics from 2014 showing that some 100,000 students were enrolled in dual study programmes.

The majority of those students work in small- and medium-sized enterprises, Schumann noted.

 

Company representatives expressed their opinions on DSPs, expressing hope that such programmes would alleviate some of the difficulties companies face with fresh graduates, for example their lack of experience.  

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