Jordan- National strategy aims to reduce university enrolment

(MENAFN- Jordan Times) Reducing the number of students attending four-year universities and redirecting them to technical and vocational education is the main goal of the National Higher Education Strategy, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Wajih Owais said on Sunday. "The majority of Tawjihi graduates in Jordan want to join universities regardless of the subjects they study or the potential for finding job opportunities after graduation," Owais told The Jordan Times in an interview on Sunday, adding that although the job market is saturated with graduates from many four-year degree programmes, "people insist on joining universities". Having too many students at universities, including some who would be better suited to technical rather than academic education, degrades the level of learning at these institutions and causes other social problems, the minister said. The strategy therefore envisions reducing the number of enrollees at universities from 95 per cent to 70 per cent of Tawjihi graduates within 10 years, he explained. The three-year strategy, developed last year and endorsed by the Cabinet last week after a lengthy delay, is intended to develop the Kingdom's higher education sector. The strategy envisions turning the community colleges across the Kingdom into full-fledged technical colleges, while the market's needs of technical specialists will be studied in order to channel more students into fields in which they are more likely to find jobs. Also on Sunday, Owais said that the ministry was developing a plan for a student loan bank that would offer students loans without interest. "We are discussing the idea of creating this bank with private banks, but no deal has been reached yet," he said. The government has allocated JD25 million for student loans for the upcoming school year. According to the ministry's figures, the number of students enrolled in the country's 27 public and private universities is estimated at 236,000.

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