As technologies continue to evolve, so do the possibilities for education, providing new means to expand access and deliver education to all. In 2014, Queen Rania Al Abdullah launched Edraak, a massive open online course platform offering original Arabic online courses to further enrich Arab education. Leveraging advanced technology developed by the Harvard-MIT consortium, edX, Edraak strives to ensure that the Arab world is at the forefront of educational innovation.
Further sparking creativity and entrepreneurship amongst local communities, two Fabrication Laboratories, or Fablabs, have been set up in Amman and Irbid, through which those with a great idea for a new product can easily and promptly build a prototype using cutting-edge manufacturing equipment like 3D printers, computer-controlled milling machines, and laser cutters.
On another note, Jordan continues to play a leading regional role in nuclear research. With the recent opening of the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science And Applications in the Middle East (SESAME) research center, the first light-source laboratory in the Middle East, the country is set to advance innovative scientific and technological research in fields such as biology, archeology, medical sciences, physics and chemistry.
Vocational and Technical Training
The Ministry of Education has also been pursuing the implementation of the applied secondary education program in cooperation with the Vocational Training Corporation. This step aims to combat unemployment in Jordan by ensuring that current and future generations have a choice beyond academia to develop certain skills, build a sustainable career and improve their overall standard of living. Through this agreement, the ministry seeks to have 6,000 students admitted to vocational training centers across the country in 2018/2019.
In 2015, a decision was made to establish Al Hussein Technical University as an initiative of the Crown Prince Foundation, aiming to enhance students’ employability and technical skills while spurring the development of youth’s innovative, problem-solving, and entrepreneurial spirit. Another major player in vocational and technical higher education is Luminus Education, which offers fully accredited post-secondary training programs, as well as customized courses for industry and commercial partners. Luminus Education, alongside a consortium of private-sector institutions, is also the force behind Tasmeem, a project that aims to enhance the economic growth potential of the local communities of Irbid and Mafraq by promoting a culture of entrepreneurship.
Meanwhile, several other Jordanian institutions have stepped up their efforts to improve the employability of Jordanian youth. INJAZ – an independent, nonprofit Jordanian organization – aims to inspire and prepare youth to become productive members of their society. Through its programs, INJAZ creates linkages between the public, private, and civil society sectors to bridge the skills gap between the educational system and the changing needs of the labor market.