On September 2, 1962 a Royal Decree was issued declaring the establishment of the University of Jordan (UJ) as the first university in the country. Fifty-nine years after, UJ has done a lot for Jordan, for the region, and for the world.
In 1962, UJ came to fill an important gap in the higher education (HE) sector. Up to then, there were only 2-year teacher training colleges, offering quality education for the purpose of providing the country with qualified teachers, but no university degrees were offered.
Jordanians seeking university degrees had to go abroad to be able to obtain them, and many Jordanians holding Ph.D. degrees from abroad were teaching at regional and international universities.
With the establishment of UJ, a home was provided for both, and an important gap was filled.
But the filled gap became also a stepping stone for the establishment of other universities in the country, in which UJ played a key role, hence the nickname for UJ not only as a “mother” university, but the “mother of all universities”. And UJ contributed significantly as well to the establishment of many universities in the region.
Over the years, however, UJ has done a lot for the Jordanian society, providing it with the much-needed graduates in so many fields. This is a crucial contribution, especially since it coincided with efforts under His late Majesty King Hussein to build the so many institutions that the country needed and that make Jordan what it is today. With more than a quarter of a million UJ graduates , many of whom became themselves “builders” and founders of so many institutions, one can imagine the extent of UJ’s role at this level.
But UJ’s value is epitomised and measured also by the fact that it, a long with a handful of other fundamental Jordanian institutions, shaped so much of the character of the Jordanian state and society.
The other handful institutions include, Al-Hussein Medical City, Al Hussein Sports City, Radio Jordan, Jordan TV, etc. These are all stepping-stone, foundational institutions.
UJ’s significance, and its so many achievements, cannot be enumerated here, as it has done so much at the level of teaching, scientific research, and community service, and in nearly all fields of knowledge.
It is important, at this very level, to underscore that UJ is among a few universities in the country and the region which are “comprehensive”, offering education in the sciences, in technology, in health and medical sciences, as well as in social sciences and humanities.
Along with its branch in Aqaba, UJ is home nearly to all disciplines of knowledge housed in 26 faculties or schools and nearly 20 centres.
The fact that it has so many solid programs in humanities and social sciences cannot be over-emphasised, since we live in a world which has become so much more biased toward technology and science and less appreciative of what the humanities and social sciences might offer.
What is important to underscore here also is that UJ offers quality education, despite the small means and financial resources available to it. As we at UJ keep saying, we do a lot with little.
UJ’s distinction is manifested in the advanced ranking of so many of its academic programmes as well as its overall rating and ranking.
As far as the QS ranking is concerned, which is one of the most important global rankings and one of the most suitable to UJ, being a comprehensive university, it has been given a 5-star rating; and many of its programmes are among the best 200, 300, 400, and 500 in the world.
According to QS also, it is ranked first in the country, 10th in the Arab region, and among the best 650 in the world.
It is also the first public university to obtain 5 stars in online learning.
Regarding the Times Higher Education and Shanghai rankings, it is also doing extremely well with many of its programs ranked among the best 200, 300, 400, and 500 in the world.
One cannot on its 59th anniversary but feel proud of what UJ has accomplished and is accomplishing, despite so many challenges and impediments.
59 years after its establishment, UJ is the leading university in the country, among a few leaders of HE in the region, and among the best in the globe, ably serving the Jordanian society, the region, and world as it has been intended to according to the text of the Royal Decree issued in 1962.