Outnumbered


Wherever you go, there always seems to be at least one conversation about reforming the education system in Jordan. Students are suffering, parents are complaining, and even the teachers and professors are unhappy about it. One complicated equation that seems to have endless contributing factors.

Our education system is far from perfect. I know because I’m currently doing my  5th year of medical school, which is a 6-year program here in Jordan. Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I think the root of the problem comes down to one thing: the number of students, which I recently discussed alongside my seniors in an interview for The Jordan Times.

Lectures

While many schools have abandoned this ancient method of teaching, it seems to become our only resort in Jordanian universities. The large number of students is making it harder each year to conduct small discussion groups, forcing us into lecture halls with 500 other students!!!!

Professor-Student Relationships

Have actually become almost nonexistent. With 500+ students being admitted into medical school every year (and only a fraction of that number of professors) has diminished the possibility of creating any sort of mentor-student relationship.

The Latest Trade

Although our facilities cannot accommodate the huge number of students being admitted every year, the amount of money in fees poses a significant income for universities. Of around 700 students getting accepted annually, only the first 200 or so pay the regular fee, which adds up to around 1800 Jordanian dinars per year, but the remaining students pay an additional fee which can reach around 7000 JDs!

Where is the money going?

And here lies the important question. Our facilities aren’t being developed, we lack so many tools and space for labs and practical work, and the list of problems continues! There are a lot of students, they require more labs, more lecture rooms, more lockers even, but there doesn’t seem to be a growing process in terms of equipment that’s consistent with that of the number of students.

How many hospitals are there in Jordan?

There are a handful, but definitely not enough to create jobs for everyone graduating the field. There are 4 universities who give MDs to at least 400 students per university, and of those only a tiny fraction are offered residency opportunities in the country. We currently have 2 or 3 universities (I lost count to be honest!) that recently opened up medical schools, which is only increasing the number of doctors in Jordan without creating jobs for them in the first place. We have come to a time where doctors are unemployed!!

And it’s not only about jobs, even during your clinical training at university, the number of students has become so large that we go see patients in groups of 20 students! This not only disrupts the learning process for us students, it really demeans the patient’s right to a respectful stay at the hospital.

Who can fix it?

The million dollar question! Every time this issue is brought up, the finger is pointed to someone else. The faculty doesn’t take blame, the university blames God knows who and the cycle is ongoing. There doesn’t seem to be a plan to either reduce the inflow of students, to create a suitable learning environment that keeps up with international standards, or even to create jobs for the graduating MDs.

Bottom Line

We’re circling the drain. Jordan’s medical schools are known worldwide for their excellent teaching and Jordan remains one of the top (if not the top) destinations for medical help. It is unquestionable that we have excellent doctors, and wonderful teachers, but everyone has a limit, and every system has a capacity. We should expand ours to maintain the reputation we have, and to live up to the modern advancements in medicine.

What are your thoughts? Please let me know!

 

3 thoughts on “Outnumbered

  1. could not said it better , and lets not forget the few thousands students that went abroad (ukraine,china..) to study medicine and will come back by the end of the year .

    another thing is the unpaid program; which is basically allow the doctor to do a residency program but instead of getting paid he/she pays !! , beside that it is un acceptable i believe it is illegal too .

    there is many sides to blame though, one of them is the community who are so focused on medicine and getting their sons and daughters to medical school , so they can grow to become future doctors , which made more universities to open medical faculties to accept these students .

    it is a very serious and complicated issue and it js getting worse with time , something most be done very soon.

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  2. It is so good that there is a debate and a lot of discussions about educational system weather low level or the high one , a way from latest changes on school books and quality of teaching let me explain my opinion how much this problem is complecated and how we can’t look at this problem a way from other main problems in the whole country and society .

    Just as a simple example if we have 50 different subjects to study in universities and each one carry specific job in work field how much students will enter universities annually ?
    lets suppose they are only 10k , by simple mathematics this equals 200 people/ subject each year ! how much the economy growth can creat new jobs yearly ? defiantly it is impossible to have equal or close number ( depending on the needs of new jobs or the economic issues) so the system eventually will be saturated !

    Many ministers were trying to solve the problem in many ways lets take some examples :

    Firs before many years new subjects were opened in universities to decrease the pressure on other subjects and to increase the level of development in the country but this was temporarily because when alot of such people on these specialties are not finding real jobs in same filed they stuyded , they try to work in another thing or most of them are setting without work at all !! At the end Unemployment still massivly going up .

    On the other hand before 4 or 5 years another error went out “tawjihi” high marks ( cheating , weak queastion .. etc )
    This moved the pressure from relatively low subjects to high subjects including medicine and engineering so we start feeling the problem more clearly …

    Everybody was asking what is the problem ? Why they are accepting a lot of numbers? ok we have +1000 student their marks above 98% and most of them wanna medicine! Some people looked to the problem as it is only physicians problem . so we start styding in huge numbers, less quilty and more pressure on available jobs .

    The new minster of eduaction thought he Will solve the problem in a smart way so he targeted only one part of the system “twajihi” to decrease the whole number of people entering the universities specially main subjects like medicine but this is again temporally solution !
    according to this year numbers, about 130k student applied for “tawjihi” about 90k this is first time they enter these exams, 50k student attended the exams only less than 17k passed ,40.1% only !
    This mean 33k student failed ! what a seccese of the system ! what should those people do ? They are timed bomb in the society, they are more prone to murders, drugs and radicalize etc… so we are just moving the problem from one side to another side !!

    I believe there is a big problem in the whole education-working system it is about the way we study and live .
    for instance about 50% of governmental employees they don’t do actual work and take funds for almost nothing and what we are doing is just increaseing their numbers without any actual real work .

    This is not the story in other countries where they have a wide variety of jobs in agriculture ,manufacturing and tourism etc.. I do have American friend who studied “mushrooms agriculture” he is specialized in this field getting thousands of dollars and exporting alot of mushrooms world wide .
    Just imagine jordanin guy studyed something like that! how people will look for them or how he will work and be able to live in jordan !

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