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Jordan declaration to the world: Advancing higher education and interdisciplinary perspectives

Jun 15,2023 - Last updated at Jun 15,2023

Higher education is never a luxury. It is rather willpower on the part of nations and individuals and a way of life towards building a sustainable future. In this sense, the international educational trend, whether in the United States or Europe has defunct the solo educational approach, which focuses on a certain academic programme regardless of its relations with other academic disciplines. This growing trend calls for embracing interdisciplinarity that is to involve the combination of multiple academic disciplines into one programme or even in academic project and research. The idea is to embroil knowledge and skills from several subjects and academic programmes to make them more appealing to students and learners in general. 

This trend also encourages, and in some instances, requires collaboration across departments, colleges and universities within the borders of one nation or farther with other international universities and institutions.  

Hence, the 14th International Conference on Education: Navigating Future Strategies for Advancing Education and Interdisciplinary Perspectives held on May 21-22,2023 in Jordan, and hosted by Tafila Technical University (TTU) in collaboration with its partners Bridgewater State University (BSU), USA, and Sidi Mohmad Ben Abdulla University (SMBU), Morocco, came as a direct response to this international trend. In fact, the conference was designed to discuss the characteristics of interdisciplinarity, its inclusivity, and its innovative approach. Thanks to the support of the US Department of Education, Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Languages, in providing a grant for accomplishing this achievement and allowing the participation of four BSU undergraduate students to present their research at the conference. 

Strongly advocating future strategies for advancing interdisciplinary education with thoughtful perspectives, researchers from the US, Jordan, Morocco, India, and Kuwait delved deeply into the details of this new vision for interdisciplinarity and educational vision. 

In his remarks, Atef Saleh Almashakbeh, the vice president for Academic Affairs of TTU praised the conference’s call for bringing to shore the latest and best international practices in education with an outlook on the future. Meanwhile, the vice president for Operations at BSU, Karen W. Jason underscored the need to infuse technology for collaboration on local, regional, and international levels. 

Jason also shed light on experiential learning, Bridgewater State Collaborative University Business Experiences initiative, and the sustainability programme. Echoing the idea of inclusiveness and new perspectives, Ahmed Al Qarareh, Dean of the Faculty of Educational Sciences at TTU said “the conference and its more than 45 research papers addressed many themes including curriculums, special education, teaching methodologies, and laid out a plan for futuristic vision including higher education and the strategy of social responsibility, and education open resources. 

Professor Mohammed Moubtassime, representative of SMBU elaborated on the idea of interdisciplinarity in relation to the effort of developing academic and educational strategies, practical and executive plans that are based on transparency, clear action plan, and in harmony with the latest development in all fields of education. 

The vice chancellor of Koppala University, B.K. Ravi, India, doubled on what we described as the Jordan Declaration to the World: Navigating Future Strategies for Advancing Education and Interdisciplinary Perspectives. vice chancellor, Ravi highlighted the significance of educational collaboration between his institution and BSU and TTU. It’s time to engage faculty, undergraduate and graduate students, administrative units, and staff to enhance the operation of learning, teaching and doing joint research. 

The keynote speakers for the conference established the same futuristic vision and creativity. Khaled Alshogran, editor-in-chief, Al Ra’i newspaper spoke of the role of Jordanian media in promoting local, regional, and global education and cultures. Alshogran reminded the audience that Jordanian media, press, television, radio and digital and social media play a positive role in informing the readers, viewers and listeners of what is happening in Jordan and around the world. “Media share scholarly works produced by institutions of higher education with the community,” he said. 

The former minister of culture, Abdulla Owidat, another keynote speaker, said, this conference claimed its significance from its main theme as it addresses the future of basic education and higher education in Jordan, in the Arab homeland, and the world. Qwidat spoke about the future of education in a changing world and its challenges.

Jordan's declaration to the world included three main strategies: 1.  Fostering interdisciplinary, project-based, and collaborative learning and teaching that responds to student needs, faculty experience, and administrative involvement. 2. Creating pathways for interdisciplinary and scholarly research. 3. Incorporate learning and teaching with community partners, business, and industrial networks. 

Jordan's declaration also embraces various experimental educational models in relation to technology, its psychological impacts, artificial intelligence, and integrative learning. Equally, presenters shared the most contemporary teaching and learning skills for faculty and students. One of the critical aspects that the conference put forward for discussion is a new academic and educational vision to improve the relationships between faculty, students and various administrative units. 

Jabbar Al Obaidi is professor of Media Studies and Communication Technologies & academic director of Global Programmes, Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, USA. Madhu Rao is professor of Global Geography & director of MENA Studies Programme, Bridgewater State University, USA.

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