Students protest against university fees and admission criteria in front of the University of Jordan in Amman

By Laila Azzeh

AMMAN – Holding banners criticising university admission criteria and „high fees”, tens of university and high school students gathered in front of the University of Jordan (UJ) on Wednesday.

During the sit-in, organised by the National Campaign for Defending Students Rights (Thabahtoona), the School Students Union (Ajyal) and Tawjihi (General Secondary School Certificate) students, the protesters carried banners that read: „Education is not just for the rich,” „Education is inspiration not money” and „79 per cent of university students are exceptions.”

Ordinary students, who are not included in any exception lists, cannot enter a university like UJ with a Tawjihi score less that 90,” Mohammad Abu Rizq told The Jordan Times, charging that those with lower grades have no other choice but to „drain their families’ pockets”.

„And the irony is that more than 79 per cent of public university students are those with low Tawjihi scores, but they are fortunate enough to enrol in universities because of their good contacts,” he stressed.

Fakher Daas, Thabahtoona coordinator, claimed that students who enter universities through competition do not exceed 21 per cent of the total.

„There should be an exception to every rule, but when exceptions become the rule, it means that something wrong is going on,” he said, adding that the majority of students enter university through „wasta” (favouritism).

„The parallel programmes at universities are so expensive that sometimes parents find that sending their children abroad is cheaper,” he charged.

Abrar Kawa, a second-year university student agreed, noting that she had to find a job to help her father with the university fees.

The 20-year-old accounting student said she pays JD60 per credit hour.

According to Thabahtoona, the current public university fees are much more than any „ordinary” citizen can afford, with a 125 per cent increase for medicine at the UJ, and JD85 per credit hour at the Hashemite University‘s medical faculty.

Similar protests have been held since the completion of this year’s Tawjihi summer session exams, with students pledging to continue making their voices heard until some of their demands are met.

”We want all competent students to have a chance to enter public universities according to fair standards,” Watan Nibali remarked.

Jordan Time

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