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Timely shift of strategy

May 05,2015 - Last updated at May 05,2015

In a timely shift in the higher education strategy, the higher education council of the Ministry of Higher Education just announced that more focus will be put on technical education, an area lacking in Jordan as well as in many developed countries.

As a first step, a technical education directorate will be established and then a polytechnic academy in every region to make it easier for students to enrol in technical education programmes, to satisfy market needs.

To that end, the National Centre for Human Resources Development will conduct a study to determine which technical specialties are most needed by the market.

On average, about 100,000 students pass the General Secondary Certificate Examination (Tawjihi) every year; most of them drift into academic specialties that are not suited to market needs.

Part of it has to do with family pressure, part with the fact that there is no concerted effort, at country level, to promote technical jobs, often regarded as menial, even though such skills are in great demand and taking that road would help decongest the market saturated with certain “prestigious” specialisations.

To correct the dysfunctional higher education policy, the ministry will work to promote technical education in areas that are most needed by local and regional markets, and encourage high school graduates to attend polytechnic academies, with the promise of finding a job.

This is indeed a wise and much overdue reappraisal of the higher education policy in the country.

Unemployed university graduates only swell the number of people without jobs and often become a liability.

Unemployment often leads to social problems and even unrest or radicalism.

Graduates of polytechnic institutions are poised to earn much more than graduates of liberal arts courses, a fact that, alone, should lure Tawjihi graduates to follow that course.

There is no shame in working. This is the ethos, and this is the idea that has to be instilled in the society.

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