“The University of Jordan [UJ] has managed to maintain its excellent position in international rankings year after year but, if we want to keep on going forward, financial constraints must be directly addressed,” Manager of UJ's Quality Assurance Centre Faleh Sawair told The Jordan Times on Monday, stressing that “if tuition fees shall remain the same, state support to the university must be increased”.
In January this year, the university received one of the biggest allocations — JD10 million — granted by the Higher Education Council for the support of public universities, along with Balqa Applied University (BAU), according to former higher education minister Adel Tweisi.
“The low faculty-to-student ratio continues to be one of the biggest issues faced by the university due to financial issues,” Sawair said, noting that the university is attempting to compensate the financial loss in regular programmes by admitting a higher number of international students.
The remarks came in light of the recent release of the QS Arab Region University Ranking for the year of 2019, which listed UJ among the top 10 universities in the Arab world and named it best in the Kingdom.
“UJ maintained the ninth position in the Arab ranking this year and boasted a perfect score for its proportion of staff with PhDs, as well as a near-perfect score for its web impact,” the ranking’s report said, adding that “it also received high scores for both academic and employer reputation, having educated several of the Arab world’s notable academics and politicians”.
“As one of the Kingdom’s leading research universities, UJ offers over 161 postgraduate programmes in a vast range of fields recognised and supported by globally renowned scholars,” the report highlighted.
First published in 2014, the ranking assesses the best universities in the Arab world through a methodology aimed at “reflecting specific challenges and priorities for institutions in the region”, according to the ranking's website.
Released last Wednesday, this year’s Arab region ranking is the most comprehensive edition of the classification thus far, with a total of 16 locations and 123 higher education institutions represented on the list.
Employment and academic reputation for graduates, percentage of PhD holders and web impact are the categories that made UJ among the top 10 universities across the region, while the low proportion of international faculty members and the faculty to student ratio prevented the university from rising to the top five.
Sawair said that the administration is “paying close attention to the current indicators and drafting a plan to improve its faculty-to-student ratio”, noting that the university is considering decreasing the number of bachelor students in certain specialties in order to increase the number of master and postgraduate admissions.
In terms of research, the academic pointed out to the university plans to raise the number of research publications in English, explaining that most ranking systems do not take into consideration databases including Arabic research papers.
In addition to UJ, another three Jordanian universities made it into the top 50 higher education institutions in the Arab world, with the Jordanian University of Science and Technology standing at the 14th spot, Yarmouk University at the 33rd, and the Hashemite University in the 38th position.
Regionally, changes were witnessed in the highest positions with the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals swapping places with the American University of Beirut, which fell to the second spot in this year’s edition of the ranking.
Saudi Arabia was the country best represented in the ranking with a total of three universities in the top five, followed by Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan and Oman.
Jordan Times: Nov 5, 2018