(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Joint ventures between universities and private sector entities in the ICT sector are essential to employ an increasing number of graduates in ICT-related majors in the country, experts said Sunday.
With about 6,000 Jordanians graduating annually in different ICT-related majors and about 22,000 students pursuing higher education in these fields, experts also said constant training for ICT students is crucial to enable them to join the labour market.
"The ICT sector is a main player in driving the country's economic growth. The sector is highly competitive and therefore it needs highly trained and skilled Jordanians," Ministry of Information and Communications Technology Secretary General Khaled Lahham said during the "ICT Industry-Academia Bridge the Gap" event on Sunday.
"Universities have an important role to play in improving their curricula, but the private sector also should engage in developing joint projects with the academic sector," Lahham added.
To enable Jordanian ICT graduates to penetrate the labour market, the ministry will soon launch a training programme in cooperation with the ICT Association of Jordan (int@j), he noted.
"The programme seeks to bridge the gap between student skills and what is really needed by the ICT sector by providing technical training and guidance on skills that help students join the labour force in a short time."
Abdul Rjoub, coordinator of the Jordan Europe Wide Enhanced research Links in ICT (JEWEL) project at the Jordan University of Science and Technology, called on the private sector to help Jordanian researchers translate ideas into projects.
"Jordanian researchers, academicians and students have brilliant ideas related to integrating ICT in the health, water, environment and energy sectors, and the EU is ready to finance such projects. Therefore, we need the expertise and the help of the private sector to better promote and present the ideas for such projects," Rjoub told The Jordan Times on the sidelines of the event.
Abed Shamlawi, CEO of int@j, said partnerships between universities and the industry would increase innovation and help address a shortage in skilled workers in the sector.
"When ICT companies seek to hire new employees, they face major difficulties as graduates in Jordan lack practical, technical skills as well as soft skills such as good communication skills and mastery of English," Shamlawi noted.
"About 55 per cent of ICT companies in Jordan find it very hard to hire experienced employees."