You are here

Officials, ‘shadow gov’t’ agree education reform policy

By Khaled Neimat - Jan 27,2014 - Last updated at Jan 27,2014

AMMAN — Public universities are expected to reduce the number of enroled students to cover only 50 per cent of those who pass the General Secondary School Exam (Tawjihi) each year, according to a government policy statement agreed upon with lawmakers which was revealed on Monday.

Students will need to pass in an “admission exam” as a prerequisite for enrolment in universities, after passing the Tawjihi, according to the official document made available to The Jordan Times.

The “policy statement” is the first in a series of similar documents expected to be discussed and agreed upon between the government and Mubadara, a House-based alliance seeking to convert into a shadow government with a clear platform to address key national issues. The bloc is working to produce a plan for each sector that is adopted by the government, reportedly in return for political support by Mubadara members under the Dome.

The alliance currently consists of about 20 MPs, but is subject to increase as more deputies are showing interest in the eight-month-old initiative, a parliamentary source said.

The education-related statement included a comprehensive reform strategy for the school and higher education system in the country.

“This is the first policy statement after the government and Mubadara engaged, over the past few weeks, in dialogue through various joint committees to develop such statements for different sectors,” Mubadara founder and leader, MP Mustapha Hamarneh (Madaba, 1st District) told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Recently, the bloc reached a landmark deal with the government, under which plans are being finalised to grant the children and husbands of Jordanian women married to non-Jordanians full civil rights.

This is the first tangible partnership between the executive and legislative authorities in the country, and is purely based on platforms and policies, Hamarneh said.

This particular policy statement focused on means to further enhance the education system by increasing expenditures in this sector over the next five years by 15 per cent.

The statement stressed on establishing what is dubbed as a “national higher council for human resources”, which would take over all strategic planning and policy making for the education sector.

Also, there is a suggestion to reform school education by adding one more grade (pre-school) to the basic education system, which currently starts from grade 1 to 10.

The plan also envisions restructuring the administration of the educational sector and allocating more funds to send postgraduate students to renowned educational institutions abroad to obtain higher degrees and return to serve their country. The plan speaks about a target of 2,500 students.

Under the new policy, the Tawjihi will be limited to two streams: academic and vocational, which was the old version of the national test.

At present, the Tawjihi is divided into five independent streams including scientific and literary as academic streams in addition to IT and Sharia, or Islamic law, and agriculture.

The plan proposes certain measures and tactics to further encourage students to enrol in vocational education rather than the academic stream, while it recommends “a clear vision” to revisit curricula at all educational levels.

This policy statement will trigger a transformation process that will take the quality of education to the next level, according to Hamarneh, who highlighted that it has been set after long discussions and careful debates that engaged ministers of education and higher education, Mohammed Thneibat and Amin Mahmoud, respectively. They both played vital roles in drafting this blueprint, the lawmaker said.

In addition, dozens of leading experts and specialists took part in the formulation of this policy statement after they participated in two forums, held on the shores of the Dead Sea in December and January, according to Hamarneh. 

85 users have voted.


Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.