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.
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!!!!
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.
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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.
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!