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Public confusion over ‘contradicting’ ministry statements on vocational streams

By Renad Aljadid - May 27,2018 - Last updated at May 27,2018

Education Ministry Secretary General Mohammad Ekour has said that the ministry will specify a percentage of university seats allocated for the best performing students among tenth graders who will join the vocational streams next year (File photo)

AMMAN — The National Campaign for Defending Students’ Rights (Thabahtoona) on Saturday described the Education Ministry’s decisions on the high school vocational streams as “contradicting and confusing”, while the ministry said it was a “misunderstanding”, according to official statements.

Thabahtoona’s statement criticised the contradiction between two ministry announcements, one in March stating that 20 per cent of the vocational stream students could enrol in universities, while a second one in May stated that they could only apply to community colleges and not to universities.

“The ministry’s confusing decisions have created a state of chaos among the students who are now reluctant to join the vocational stream because of the ambiguous future that awaits them,” high school teacher Raed Assaf told The Jordan Times, adding: “I only had 12 students who applied for the industrial stream, and now they have all withdrawn.”

“The country needs graduates from vocational specialisations, so the ministry should encourage them, not dissuade them,” the teacher stressed.

In an official statement by the Education Ministry, carried out by Petra, the Secretary General Mohammad Ekour said that the ministry will specify a percentage of university seats allocated for the best performing students among the tenth graders who will join the vocational streams next year.

Ekour added that students who pursued community college diplomas can apply for the “bridging programmes” to obtain bachelor degrees.

Thabahtoona coordinator Fakher Daas told The Jordan Times that “this also contradicts another announcement by the Ministry of Higher Education, which said it will decrease the allocated seats for the bridging programme by 20 per cent every year. So, within five years — two years already passed — the current tenth graders who are not among the best performing will have no opportunity at all to enrol in university”.

“Why is there a lack of coordination between the Education Ministry and the Higher Education Ministry when taking decisions that affect the students’ future,” Daas asked.

Despite repeated attempts by The Jordan Times to contact the Education Ministry, Ekour was not available for comment.

Thabahtoona statement also criticised decreasing the number of math and physics classes for the industrial streams, which they said “would deprive them of their chance to join scientific specialisations in university”. In this regard, the ministry statement noted that there are several different plans for the stream, each student can choose to pursue any of these plans and each would qualify the student for certain tracks.

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