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Over 51,000 applicants compete for 36,000 seats in public universities

Hashemite University campus in Zarqa

Hashemite University campus in Zarqa

Acceptances to be announced early next month

Approximately 51,490 Tawjihi (General Secondary Certificate Examination) graduates have applied to enrol in the Kingdom’s public universities this coming fall, the director of the Unified Admissions Committee, Ghaleb Hourani, said.

The names of accepted applicants will be announced during the first week of September, he said, noting that 36,827 new students will be accepted at the Kingdom’s 10 public universities this year.

Some 650 students have not completed their applications and have been contacted by e-mail and SMS to submit the missing documents, Hourani said.

High school students take the cumulative Tawjihi exam during their senior year and their test score determines which university they can enter and what they can study; the greater the demand for a certain area of study, the higher the Tawjihi score a student needs to be accepted.

Students must score at least 65 per cent on the Tawjihi to be considered for a seat at a public university.

Of the total seats allocated for new students under the unified admissions criteria, 20 per cent are allocated for children of military personnel, 5 per cent for children of teachers, and 5 per cent each for Jordanians who finished their secondary education abroad and those who took the Tawjihi in previous years.

Outside the unified admissions list, each year there is a quota of 350 seats allocated for residents of refugee camps.

Other seats are allocated for the children and grandchildren of members of the Higher Education Council, workers at universities and the Ministry of Higher Education, and other state employees.

There is also a quota for Tawjihi graduates from certain schools in remote areas. This quota is not fixed, but rather changes every year based on the total number of students accepted through the unified list.

Minister of Higher Education Wajih Oweis said earlier this month that the ministry was piloting a programme to allow students to apply to certain university programmes directly rather than through the Unified Admissions Committee.

Jordan University of Science and Technology’s architecture and architectural engineering programme is accepting direct applications this year, the minister said. Competitive applicants will be required to take a placement exam.

Next year, he added, admission to all faculties of medicine will be handled directly through universities.

The reform of the admissions system is part of the recently revived National Strategy for Higher Education, which envisions directing more students into technical and vocational education rather than academic university programmes.

In a similar vein, the Royal Court announced late last month that it was changing the makruma system for university students to grant scholarships through the ministry rather than guaranteed seats.

A total of 1,420 scholarships will be provided annually as of the start of the second semester of the next academic year.

The scholarships will be distributed based on several criteria, most important of which are the student’s academic achievement, his/her economic and social conditions, competence and excellence.

Previously, some university seats were granted through Royal makruma to members of certain communities or sectors under specified quotas.

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