jordan pulse -
Written by: Jihan Al-Aroud
“Educational Tourism” I heard this term recently in a talk by the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Al-Ahliyya Amman University, Dr. Maher Al-Hourani, and at first glance I did not understand well what he meant by this description.
Of course, education is considered a basic need for individuals and not a luxury. We can call it “tourism” in the sense that everyone understands.
It is as if he were saying: Just as Jordan has historical and archaeological treasures of discovered sites dating back thousands of years, and attention is being paid to them at all levels, the current Jordan possesses an undiscovered treasure, which is the universities and their importance in becoming a landmark and a shrine for students from all the Arab world and the region and a great source of economic income.
The concept that Al-Hourani came up with during his recent television talk raised many thoughts about how to translate this term and reflect it on the ground.
Especially since the infrastructure for the university education sector is available with all its elements: a network of public and private universities, teaching staff, university administrations at the highest levels, study plans and many and varied specializations.
The concept of marketing “educational tourism” is, according to Al-Hourani, that Jordan is capable of attracting more than half a million incoming students. This will be reflected in the volume of financial transfers of hard currency that will enter Jordan and the operation of various economic sectors according to this theory to meet the needs of incoming students for various services. Everyone The real estate sector, services, restaurants, malls, shopping centers and many others will benefit from the advancement of this industry.
Al-Hourani pointed to the vision of Al-Ahliyya Amman University, according to its founder, the late Dr. Ahmed Al-Hourani, to be an educational radiation center that brings together the people of the Arab nation, and even extends to absorbing students from outside the Arab world.
For example, Al-Ahliyya Amman University, throughout its 34 years of existence, has been able to attract students from 37 countries alone, meaning that it raises 37 flags on its buildings. This could not have come out of nowhere, but rather through the quality of education it provides to students, and the specializations that mimic the development of Job markets in various specializations, so the student himself becomes an ambassador for the university when he returns to his country, encouraging his brothers, friends, and those around them to join the university, which in itself is an incomparable marketing effort, built on the credibility and hard work that characterizes the university.
In order to achieve the goals, it is necessary to amend legislation related to university education, give universities more flexibility in their work, listen to their administrations to face challenges, and have related legislation regarding removing restrictions on some restricted nationalities.
There is no harm in holding a round table to reach a common understanding between the two parties, the government and the private educational sector, to translate these ideas.
These measures will open the door wide to a renaissance in higher education, in light of the modest number of non-Jordanian nationalities registered by Jordanian universities, which is estimated at only about 40 thousand students currently, distributed among many public and private universities. Naturally, Al-Ahliyya Amman occupies first place in the polarization index. Students arriving for the reasons I mentioned previously.
Therefore, we do not lack anything for Jordan to be a center for university education that serves the Arab region and the region, except the availability of the will and belief in the importance of university education as an element of the economic vision of the Kingdom.
These ideas and visions presented by an economic figure of Dr. Al-Hourani’s stature, and his belief that Jordan will be able to achieve this promising vision, have what supports them and may become a reality, which will have a direct and indirect impact in maximizing the economic return and Jordan continuing its leadership in university education and the fragrant reputation it has gained. And the trust he enjoys among Arab and foreign students, and here Al-Ahliyya Amman University’s experience of success on the ground is an example to follow, as it was ranked number one in the Arab world and 25th in the world in terms of the number of international students according to the QS World Classification 2024. Responsibility
comes Here we are putting this vision into practice, as it consists of building confidence between the official authorities, the private educational sector, and the official universities to draw up a practical plan to reach this goal, and to develop legislation to serve the transformation of Jordan into a center for educational tourism.
An important statement by Dr. Al-Hourani is that the optimal investment in university education, by maximizing the return from educational tourism, is sufficient to cover Jordan’s debt, and this is not a dream or transmitted talk.
The development that everyone feels in our universities through updating study plans in line with the needs of the current and future labor market, and opening specializations required by the local, Arab and regional labor market, is an important attraction factor for thousands of Arab students, and a logical alternative to joining Western universities in which the student is searching. The Arab League seeks such specializations that keep pace with the rapid scientific development in many specializations, and meet the needs of Arab and regional labor markets.
Especially with the advantages that Jordan provides, including an educational and social environment similar to the Arab and regional environments, and the availability of an element of political and security stability, which are the two things that parents look for when determining the university in which their children will study and the countries they will go to, with the advantage of providing university education at reasonable costs for the student. The expatriate.
In addition, Jordan has an “oil reserve of a different kind,” which is the human resources qualified to make Jordan No. 1 in education, “whether general or higher” in the region. This will be reflected in the prosperity of the economy and increase the volume of economic growth in a tangible way for all, because it will be reflected in All sectors and segments of society.