Higher Education

Just over 2.5% of Jordan's total population is enrolled at university, a proportion comparable to the United Kingdom. Access to higher education is open to holders of the General Secondary Education Certificate who can then choose between private Community Colleges, public Community Colleges or universities (public and private). The credit-hour system, which entitles students to select courses according to a study plan, is implemented at universities.

Higher education system of the country has evolved considerably in the past five years. But still a lot needs to be done to keep up with a rapidly growing knowledge based economy. In years between 2000/2001 and 2006/2007, Jordan has seen an increased demand for higher education with enrollments growing at an annual rate of 14 percent from 77,841 to 218,900students. It has tertiary gross enrollment levels of about 40 percent which is higher than the regional average, as can be seen from the chart below. Three new public universities have been established recently reaching a total of 10 public universities in the country.

Private universities have seen a rapid increase in enrollments as well. Since 2000 to 2006, enrollment in 12 private universities grew by about 18 percent annually from 36,642 to 55,744. However, enrollment numbers in community colleges declined from 30,000 to 26,215.This decrease in enrollment rates reflect a bias to a 4-year university education and also the fact that quality and level of training given in these colleges is not what is in demand in the labor market of a knowledge based economy. With increasing number of students going for the attainment of higher education, the government needs to allocate greater resources in improving the current higher education system and also to improve access of good universities for the rising population. Even the private universities have to change some of their admission policies. The enrollment cap in the private universities restricts the ability of university to absorb increasing number of higher education students. Projection for the number of students entering university is 92,000 per year by 2013 up from 50,469 in 2005.