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‘Ministry to gradually end university bridging system to support technical education’

By Sawsan Tabazah - Jan 11,2017 - Last updated at Jan 11,2017

AMMAN — The Ministry of Higher Education on Wednesday decided to end the bridging system within the next four years by reducing the number of admissions in universities annually to support technical education, according to a ministry official.

However, the ministry has no intention to close community colleges, the official said.

The bridging programme allows holders of community diplomas to continue equal majors at universities, provided that they score 68 per cent or above in the annual comprehensive final exams (Shamel) to enrol in bachelor’s degrees.

Twenty per cent of the unified admissions at public universities are allocated for community college students, but this ratio will be gradually decreased to zero, the official told The Jordan Times on condition of anonymity. 

The official explained that the decision is based on the government’s aim to provide the local and regional markets with skilled labour who are in high demand. 

Citing studies by the Civil Service Bureau, the official said community college graduates are employed more than university graduates. 

Recently, the ministry has approved allowing students who fail the General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) to enrol in community colleges. 

“Most of the job opportunities provided by Gulf Arab countries, for example, are for technicians; diploma holders have even more than the opportunities for BA or MA graduates,” the official explained.

“Most of the workers in those fields in the Gulf are from East Asia. More focus on technical education means decreasing the unemployment ratio in Jordan.” 

The decision is part of the government’s priority projects to implement the Jordan Vision 2025 and is based on the recommendations of the National Strategy for Human Resources Development 2016-2025 to reach international standards in the field of skilled labour.

“According to international standards, for example, the ratio is four technicians for one engineer, whereas in Jordan, we have the opposite: five engineers for one technician,” the official explained. 

The source also said the government is planning to establish a department for technicians and to support vocational education. 

The ministry has notified the Civil Service Bureau to improve the privileges awarded for technicians, especially those who have studied in technical community colleges but failed to pass Tawjihi, such as salaries and social security, the official said. 

In 2016, out of 1,744 students who passed Shamel exams and met the bridging system requirements, 951 submitted applications to public universities, with 762 students accepted.

“If this integrative process succeeds, there won’t be a need for a university degree to increase income. Experience, efficiency and the market’s need for technicians will enhance their economic status,” the ministry’s official said.

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