Local universities consider Gazans foreign students

lecture room
lecture room. (Photo: Envato Elemnts)
AMMAN — Most Gazans who arrived in Jordan after the 1967 Arab-Israeli and do not have Jordanian national numbers are considered by law as foreigners, including students who wish to enroll at Jordanian universities.اضافة اعلان

Tasneem Al-Nassar, a Gazan who was born in Jordan and completed her undergraduate studies at the Jordan University of Science and Technology seven years ago, said that Gazans signing on with Jordanian universities face extremely tough procedures. 

“Application procedures are extremely tough for Gazans,” she sighed.

She said Gaza nationals face hindrances starting at an early age. “Once born, the Gazan will be given a temporary Jordanian passport, which is used for admission to a Jordanian university, but through the Palestinian Embassy in Jordan,” she said.

“Admission in this manner is extremely tough; the numbers are limited, and Palestinians from the West Bank frequently take precedence over Palestinians from Jordan,” she explained.

Nassar added that she was admitted to university because she had a “very high average in Tawjihi (the Jordanian General Secondary Certificate),” but this was not the case for her siblings, forcing them to look for alternatives, such as the widely known “international parallel program” at Jordanian universities. The program is more expensive, and its tuition fee may reach twice the cost of parallel programs for a Jordanian student.

“It is rare for any Gazan living in Jordan to bear the cost in view of their prevailing living conditions, which include the difficulty of finding job opportunities,” she explained.

Karam Al-Qandil, a Gazan who was born and raised in Jordan, graduated from Jordan’s Yarmouk University two years ago. He said he took the international parallel program.

“My family lost a lot (of money) until I graduated,” he said. He explained that he was considered a foreigner at college so his tuition fees were more than twice the fees for any Jordanian within the national parallel program.

Qandil added that he attempted to apply for studies through the Palestinian Embassy, but the numbers were limited and the prerequisites included a high average in Tawjihi, the high school certificate obtained once students successfully complete the 12th grade.

“It also depended a lot on the guy having connections to get the acceptance, even if he did not qualify,” he contended.

He said that he also faced other obstacles while vying for a free college seat through the Ministry of Higher Education, as a limited number of seats are allocated for refugee camp residents in Jordan and those whose mothers are Jordanian.

“Gazans have no space there because those seats are not intended for them,” he said.

Muhannad Al-Khatib, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Higher Education, confirmed to Jordan News that students from the Gaza Strip are unable to study in Jordanian universities under the unified admission system because “they do not have a Jordanian national number, and thus are treated as foreigners.”

But he explained that Gaza students can be accepted into the unified admission program, if they were camp residents. He said that admission, however, is subject to instructions under a royal decree, which allocates a specific number of college seats to Palestinians, which is usually 300.

Another alternative is for students whose mothers are Jordanian and have a Civil Status Department identification card and a Tawjihi certificate, the student is eligible to compete for one of the 150 seats allotted for that category.

Khatib said that the Higher Education Council often suggested providing facilities for Gazan students. He said some are already being enforced, such as the University of Jordan, which admits Gazan students to its parallel program at the same cost as Jordanians, not foreigners.

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