One of the goals of the Jordanian Ministry of Education is the recognition of skills and competences acquired in non-formal and informal settings as an important pathway to formal education and to employment.
Challenges and opportunities
Jordan has a population of 6.4 million inhabitants of which more than 35 per cent is under 15 years of age. This is putting a great pressure on the education system which is unable to provide qualifications valued in education, the labour market, and in society. Many students train too narrowly for a specific occupation instead of studying for a broader qualification which would provide them with a larger variety of job opportunities.
Jordan’s working-age population is high, but so is the unemployment rate (around 12.6 per cent), and the participation of women in the labour market is one of the lowest worldwide (13.2 per cent in 2013). Around 60,000 new jobs need to be created annually. Before the financial crisis in 2008, the job creation rates rose from 2.7 per cent to 4.5 per cent. However, around 42 per cent of these jobs were created in the public sector, and more than half of the jobs, created in the private sector, were filled by low-skilled foreign workers. Even today, low-skilled workers continue to be a challenging issue considering that increasing immigration brings with it low-qualified workers looking for low-skilled jobs.
By building upon their prior learning, competences, and previous life and work experience, low-skilled workers can be helped to improve their employability and to upgrade their skills through mechanisms for recognition, validation and accreditation (RVA).
National standards, policy and framework activity
Jordan is in the process of developing a comprehensive national qualifications framework (NQF). In the meanwhile the Vocational Training Corporation (VTC) has developed its own qualifications framework, but this framework is only applicable for students in VTC institutions and these qualifications do not allow these students to progress to university. Secondary education VET students, on the other hand, are able to take the Jordanian baccalaureate (Tawjhi) which allows them to access community colleges, and from there they can enter the universities. However, in practice there is little use of this pathway.
Currently, a European Union (EU) supported project is supporting Jordan to develop a Technical and Vocational Qualification Framework (TVQF), which is expected to be transformed into a national lifelong learning qualifications framework including all educational sectors and levels. The initial framework comprises four levels, but with the transformation into a lifelong learning framework, the plan is that it will comprise eight levels and cover all sub-sectors of the education and training system.
In line with the development of an NQF, Jordan is also involved in increasing transparency and shared understanding of qualifications in seven Euro-Mediterranean countries (Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, France, Italy, and Spain) by producing a set of common standards for occupations in the tourism and construction sectors in the context of an ETF-project. In addition, these countries compare their existing qualifications in these two sectors. This comparison of occupational standards with existing national qualifications is being undertaken in seven more sectors. The Centre for Accreditation and Quality Assurance (CAQA) is in charge of the national coordination in Jordan.
VET in Jordan is under the Ministry of Education and is provided by a variety of actors. Continuing training (CVET) is delivered by the VTC and is under the Ministry of Labour.
The E-TVET Council, comprising stakeholders from ministries, public/private sectors, and trade unions, is in charge of national TVET policy.
CAQA, which is under the Ministry of Labour,is another key stakeholder as it has the role of accrediting providers, conducting occupational tests for those involved in technical and vocational work, and granting occupational licences (UIL; Cedefop; ETF, 2015).
Al Nasser, A. S. 2013. A second chance: facts and figures of a programme for school dropouts in Jordan. In: K. Denys (ed.), Adult Education and Social Change. Jordan – Palestine – Lebanon – Syria – Egypt. Bonn, DVV International.
European Training Foundation. 2010. Inventory of Recent NQF Developments in the ETF’s Partner Countries. Turin, ETF Communication Unit.
European Training Foundation. 2001. Structures and Mechanisms for Information and Needs Forecast on Training Qualification and Employment: the observatory function, Jordan. Turin, ETF.
Jordan. Ministry of Education. 2004. The Development of Education: national report of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Geneva, the 47th Session of the International Conference on Education by the Ministry of Education Managing Directorate of Educational Research and Development. http://www.ibe.unesco.org/International/ICE47/English/Natreps/reports/jordan.pdf
Questscope. 2010. Youth Employability Challenges and Effectively Improve School-to-Work Transitions Drop Outs (Non-Formal Education) as Questscope’s Mainstreaming Model. Beirut, Working Paper Presented To The International Conference ‘Children & Youth in the MENA Region: Towards Unleashing their Potentials Education’.
UNESCO. 2008. Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Paris, UNESCO.
UIL; European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (Greece); European Training Foundation (Italy). 2015. Global inventory of regional and national qualifications frameworks. V. II: national and regional cases. Hamburg, UIL
Nadera Al-Sheyyab Bakheet
E-TVET Council Secretariat
Ministry of Labour (Chairman)