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Universities should cut majors not in demand from public sector — official

By Laila Azzeh - Feb 29,2016 - Last updated at Feb 29,2016

AMMAN — Universities should close down or admit fewer students into disciplines with which the civil service is oversupplied, according to the head of the agency responsible for public sector employment. 

"Universities should reduce the number of graduates in these fields or close them down for a while…the Higher Education Council should ban some of the disciplines that are considered to be stagnant," Civil Service Bureau (CSB) President Khaled Hmeisat told The Jordan Times on Sunday. 

Hmeisat stressed the need to focus on technical training, which he said is in high demand now. 

Education, English and Arabic literatures, accounting and computer science are the most common majors in job applications received by the bureau, according to official figures.

The CSB classifies nursing, business administration, economics and computer science as specialisations with which the public sector is "very saturated", while political science, hotel management, mechatronics and dentistry are deemed "very stagnant". 

On the other hand, medicine and mathematics are classified as "needed in moderation", whereas Sharia studies are considered "needed". 

According to the bureau's annual report, the number of those who applied for jobs through the CSB fell by 15 per cent to 29,996 in 2015, down from 35,247 in 2014.

Of that, only 5 per cent of the total number of applicants get hired in the government every year, Hmeisat said. 

Higher Education Ministry Secretary General Hani Dmour said that while the ministry refers its recommendations to universities regarding the specialisations they offer, it “cannot decide what disciplines they should stop teaching”.

“We call on universities to draw up new plans every three to five years based on the market demand, but cannot ask them to close down certain programmes and let go of students and faculty members,” he told The Jordan Times. 

The ministry official noted that the CSB is only concerned with public sector jobs. 

“Some fields are not in demand by the government, but are highly required by the private sector and other countries,” he said.

Dmour added that the ministry cooperates with stakeholders, such as the Higher Education Accreditation Commission, to bridge the gap between educational outcomes and job market needs.

Meanwhile, he noted that the ministry and the CSB are “very clear” about disciplines not in demand in the public sector, but people still apply to the bureau because they are determined to secure a job with the government. 

“This is more evident among women whose families only allow them to work in the public sector,” he said.

 

There are currently around 200,000 government employees, according to official figures.  

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I THINK THAT THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION SHOULD FOCUS MORE ON THE RESOURCES, OVERSEAS AFFILIATIONS, FUNDING AND LESS ON WHAT SHOULD AND SHOULD NOT BE OFFERED AT THE UNIVERSITIES. VARIETY AND DIVERSITY OF ACADEMIC MAJORS IS WHAT MAKES A GOOD INSTITUTION. YES SOME MAJORS AND DIPLOMA ARE MORE MARKETABLE THAN OTHERS BUT NOT AT ALL TIMES. THERE WAS A TIME THAT LIBERAL DIPLOMA WAS USELESS IN THE JOB MARKET BUT LOOK AT TODAY'S MARKET IN THE WEST AND USA. A DEGREE IN PHYSICS, CHEMISTRY, MATHS AND SO ON SEELS. PLEASE LEAVE THE POLICY OF ACADEMICS TO THE EXPERTS IN THE FIELD AND NOT THOSE WHO HAVE NO COMPREHENSION OF ACADEMICS.

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