Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies held local dialogue meetings on how to select technical and professional majors appropriate to the needs of the labor market, as part of the Center’s efforts to bridge the skills gap between the educational system and the labor market’s needs in Jordan.
Over a period of one week, Phenix Center held four dialogue meetings in the governorates of Karak, Tafila, Balqa, and Madaba, in cooperation with Oxfam as part of the “Youth Participation and Employment” Program, within the framework of the Arab-Danish Partnership Program 2017-2021. The meetings were attended by a variety of specialists and experts in education, labor market and vocational training, and the discussion focused on the policy paper titled “Expanding Vocational and Technical Education in Jordan” which was prepared by Phenix Center within the framework of the same project.
The Programme Manager at Phenix Center, Dua’a Al-Ajarmah, said that the meetings call for improving the ways for young people to select technical and professional majors as means to significantly reduce the growing unemployment rates. Al-Ajarmah pointed out the importance of empowering young people with capacities that can enable them to build their professional careers, not only on the basis of their personal preferences and interests, but also on the needs of the Jordanian labor market. It is of utmost importance to get rid of traditional notions of prestige linked to specific professional careers, while supporting the development of young people’s technical skills and increasing their access to field experiences that are suitable for the Jordanian labor market.
The sessions discussed the importance of vocational and technical education in Jordan, as the numbers of the Department of Statistics in 2018 showed that there were approximately 23,000 students enrolled in vocational education, while those who chose academic education reached 178,000 students.
The dialogue sessions also discussed the challenges caused by the COVID-19 on the technical and vocational education and training system in Jordan, and the need to improve the measures taken by the government to deal with the social and economic consequences of this crisis. Indeed, the current crisis shows the urgent need to change the entire TVET system in order to contribute significantly to alleviating unemployment rates.
Participants in the dialogue sessions stressed the need to enhance the participation of the private sector in developing technical education skills for employment purposes, to activate processes of experience exchange between workers in the technical education sector at the local and global levels, to develop new professional specialties, and to secure high-quality means of transportation for citizens in the Kingdom’s governorates and its various villages.
Finally, the participants pointed out that the reasons for young men and women’s reluctance to enroll in vocational specializations is the failure of schools and vocational institutes to absorb the numbers of students wishing to study vocational specializations, and the facilities are not well equipped as well. These points out the crucial importance of increasing young people’s awareness from the early stages of school education on how to select specializations that are in line with the needs of the labor market.