Over a period of three weeks, Phenix Center for Economic and Informatics Studies held an awareness program for school students in the governorates of the Kingdom on the expansion of TVET in Jordan and methods of selecting scientific and professional specializations that match the labor market’s requirements.
Phenix Center held eight online awareness sessions, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Oxfam, and as part of the Youth Participation and Employment project within the Danish-Arab Partnership Program, which aims to enhance youth’s life and technical skills, and to enhance employers, institutions and society’s capacities in supporting and employing young men and women.
More than 150 students among boys and girls from different government schools in the governorates of Madaba, Balqa, Karak and Tafila participated in the awareness sessions. The sessions were based on the content of a policy paper titled “Towards the Expansion of Vocational and Technical Education in Jordan”, developed by Phenix Center within the framework of the above mentioned project.
Waad Al-Zoubi, a member of the Career Guidance Department in the Ministry of Education, praised the importance of holding such programs with students and remarked that there is an urgent need to raise awareness on the specializations that vocational and technical education provides in Jordan. She also stressed that parents must be informed of the job opportunities that their children can access by enrolling in education, training and vocational programs.
During the sessions the importance of vocational and technical education in Jordan was discussed, outlining the increasing demand for workers in the low and medium skills sector, and stressing that TVET programs can help and motivate young people, opening new horizons for them to develop skills and knowledge necessary to enter the labor market.
The sessions also sought to educate students about vocational training, the need to integrate them in vocational and technical education programs and involve more young students in enrolling in such programs. In addition, social and cultural obstacles that young people face in joining vocational education were discussed, where often they are pressured to undertake university majors in the belief that this would give them access to more job opportunities.
Students that participated in the sessions expressed their views on their favorite jobs, showing a clear inclination towards traditional occupations, such as engineering, medicine, and aviation, while only a few of them favoured non-traditional jobs.
Overall, it is worth mentioning that the technical and vocational education system in Jordan faces many difficulties that limit its appeal to young people. These include the lack of financial resources necessary to develop effective vocational education and training programs, the missed alignment between graduates’ skills and labor market’s requirements, a lack of consideration for students’ tendencies and gender issues. Such shortcomings affect the effectiveness of technical and vocational education programs, as it is demonstrated by the Department of Statistics’ figures for 2018, where approximately 23,000 students enrolled in vocational education as opposed to 178,000 students who chose academic education.