King urges institutional action to prevent impediments to youths’ engagement in political life

26 July 2022

His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday stressed the important role of universities in the successful implementation of the outcomes of the state’s modernisation efforts, especially political modernisation.

During a meeting with the presidents of public universities at Al Husseiniya Palace, King Abdullah urged youth at universities to undertake their key role in the political modernisation process and participate in platform-based political parties.

At the meeting, attended by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II, His Majesty called for finalising the by-law to organise the activities of political parties at universities and urged institutional action to prevent placing any impediments to youths’ engagement in political life.

The King also underscored the importance of providing a positive environment at universities conducive to achieving political modernisation.

Discussing the importance of staying abreast of technological developments to bolster Jordan’s human capital, His Majesty stressed the need to equip future generations with the skills needed to enable them to capitalise on the opportunities available and meet labour market demands.

For his part, Crown Prince Al Hussein highlighted the role of universities, as well student clubs and unions, in supporting the political modernisation track, and promoting a culture of dialogue and political action among students.

The Crown Prince also noted the need for a qualitative leap in vocational and technical education.

Speaking at the meeting, Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Wajih Owais outlined the measures taken by the two ministries to implement the Political Parties Law, which allows for on-campus political party engagement by university students.

Owais said a committee was formed by the Higher Education Council to prepare courses to educate students on political party engagement on campus, noting these courses will be ready by the first semester of the upcoming academic year.

Owais highlighted the importance of regulating relations between students and university administrations, expecting the by-law for this to be finalised within a week, and to enter into force as of October.

In order to equip school students with the necessary skills to engage in political life, he said the Ministry of Education has prepared, in cooperation with the National Centre for Curriculum Development, two textbooks for 10th and 11th graders to hone their skills before entering universities.

For their part, heads of universities reviewed key challenges facing their academic institutions, sharing their views on means of enhancing the role of students and universities in implementing modernisation, especially on the political track.

They said universities have to be examples and incubators of political activism in Jordan, highlighting the need to further develop curricula and youth programmes by experts, and to restructure deanships of students’ affairs to allow for this.

The university presidents added that university administrations and faculty members must maintain neutrality to allow for on-campus partisan work, calling for training faculty members on ways to promote political engagement among students.

They said universities must take back their leading role in the local community and capitalise on the expertise of professionals to educate students and hone their skills.

They stressed that universities should keep up with regional and international educational developments, highlighting commitment to academic modernisation at all levels to ensure graduates can meet labour market needs.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi and Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan attended the meeting.