The Scandal of the University of Jordan

By Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Thu 24 November / Nov 2016. 07:39 PM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

It wasn’t merely a fight that took place at the University of Jordan (JU) Thursday; but a ‘Civil War’ more or less among students, on tribal and social basis, set off by another incident two days earlier, leading up to the scene which constitutes a real scandal for education and universities in Jordan, and an even bigger one for governments and state officials, along with all the hypocrites who collaborated on bringing us down so low!

The videos circulated showed hundreds of students stampeding right in the heart of the University like herd of senseless beasts, screaming cusses and profanities, followed by the sound of bullets shot in campus, as University security personnel stood by idly watching; helpless. The presence of police and security measures applied did not stop these students from crowding and vandalising property, in addition to having armed themselves with knives and blades, as well as firearms!

Over the last year, up until this week, there was an abundance of promising indicators to the reception of university violence, after having peaked previously, as “Dhabahtouna” movement coordinator Fakher Daas put it, with a number of students killed over fights at the universities of Mutah and Al Hussein bin Talal south of the Kingdom.

Afterwards, the State decided to put this phenomenon to rest, which has relatively, to quite some extent, worked, until now. The problem, as usual, was that resolutions to domestic issues in our Country would always address the results and outcomes of a certain problem; the symptoms of it, focusing on the superficial aspects of it, instead of addressing the inputs and catalysts of the core issues which lead to the culmination of such a phenom.

What are the enabling factors and reasons behind university violence; albeit inside universities or outside, addressing issues of youth in general?

I will not repeat myself. Many times over, we had stressed that there are several in depth and thorough studies stacked inside the drawers and desks of Jordanian official, and an abundance of recommendations by committees formed for this very purpose, next to dozens of research and articles. The reasons are obvious to all, and theoretically everybody agrees on the diagnosis of the very core of this phenomenon, but when it comes to application, and the tireless persistence by officials in the State to defend their catastrophic policies in universities, for years now; be it imbalances in the admission system, quotas that shove many unqualified students into university classrooms, deformities in the recruitment policies of educators and professors, or the nourishing of sub-cultural and social identities via these particular policies themselves!

The University of Jordan has been an exemplary Arab institution in terms of output, and is now paying a massive price for its lack of autonomy and the disintegration of its values, customs, and the integration of state politics and trivial tribal considerations. More so, these very disruptive policies still stand, and they shame our university and higher education institutions, especially when even the appointment of presidents, deans, and administrative officials in based on these provincial and tribal criteria!

Scientific research at the University of Jordan has shrunk, and the level of proficiency among our tutors and instructors there has dropped, particularly in the faculties of Human Studies, with drugs spreading and a scalable recession in the value of education. The University of Jordan is suffering a huge shortage in resources and huge debts, due to the oversized staff and faculty, which is a problem caused by favouritism, to the point that we have been listed on the black list for scholarships in some gulf countries, due to the deterioration of our education level.

I have to ask; why is there so much denial and dismissal of the scale of this problem? Why can’t we admit to it and begin our real revolution with decisive bills and pivoting decisions to lift our education system? Primary among these questions in the establishment of autonomy and the prevention of official intervention in neither policy or the selection of university deanships, that they may be appointed on the basis of adequacy and proficiency, in accordance to credible transparent criteria, and finally let students engage freely in the multitude of activities they may want to.

To summarise, the relative tranquillity was merely a brief and temporary one. Resolving the issues of university violence requires fundamental solutions; the problem is obvious, the answers are known, but the decision to implement is what is really missing!