Every year, Jordan’s Higher Education Council makes decisions to suspend some university study programs and launch new ones with the aim of reducing the kingdom’s high unemployment rates, which recently hit about 50 percent among young people, according to a World Bank report.
For this school year, the council approved suspending admission to 13 academic programs, most of which are related to humanities and social sciences majors, while introducing 20 new majors that it says are needed by the local labor market.
But academics disagree over whether that approach will succeed in reducing unemployment or is even in students’ interests.
‘Stagnant and Saturated’ Disciplines
The Higher Education Council’s recent decisions go in line with the recommendations of the Jordanian Civil Service Bureau, a government institution that regulates public employment. In August, the bureau issued a study on the labor market’s “stagnant and saturated” disciplines, for which their graduates’ job applications will no longer be accepted.
In general, Jordan’s Civil Service Bureau annually accommodates between 35,000 and 40,000 graduates in government jobs out of a total number of about 70,000 graduates from Jordan’s universities, Sameh Nasser, head of the bureau, said in a televised interview. Nasser explained that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research makes its decisions about whether to stop or start an academic course in coordination with the bureau. (See a related article, “Jordan Data Suggests Universities Contribute to Unemployment.”)