Students taught online anxious about job prospects

Medical, engineering students fear they missed out on important in-person training

Over 90,000 students left their university campus in April 2020 and started online education for the first time due to COVID-19 pandemic. (Illustration:
Over 90,000 students left their university campus in April 2020 and started online education for the first time due to COVID-19 pandemic. (Illustration:
AMMAN — Over 90,000 students left their universitycampus in April 2020 and started online education for the first time due to COVID-19 pandemic. Students and graduates are anxious about whether receiving important training online, especially in technical educational programs like medicine and engineering, will affect their job prospects.اضافة اعلان

“I’m currently on the hunt for jobs knowing for a fact that graduates of previous years gained more knowledge and experience than I did,” engineering graduate Aya Abu Raden said. “I applied for every vacancy I found but none of them replied. Our online school experience is probably the reason.

“Recruiters know for sure that we didn’t benefit from online school as we should have. In addition, we took our training course online, when we were supposed to go out to the field to see how things actually function. We’re lacking a lot of practical experience,” Abu Raden added.

In addition, fifth-year pharmacy student Aya Alsheikh said that online classes are a “nightmare”, because students are barely participating, not committed to their work, and genuinely bored.

“I’m currently training at a pharmacy, and the chief pharmacist is upset and wishes to go back in time to not hire us, because he thinks that he is acting like our professor now, and explaining the basic formulas and structures of a medicine all over again,”

Alsheikh said. “But he doesn’t understand that we took the material theoretically on paper and PowerPoint slides, instead of in the laboratory where we’re supposed to.”   
Public administration expert Radi Alottoum told Jordan News that online teaching will negatively affect students’ learning outcomes, and therefore, their job opportunities.

“Recruiters now have zero trust in students’ results and certificates. Classes like field trainings, and first year and last year courses in any field of study determine a student’s understanding of their entire major,” he said, “If these courses were taken online, a certificate would definitely be considered less than it would have (otherwise).”

“I don’t think that a private business owner would hire an online graduate if there was an in-class graduate available, simply because the business owner becomes obliged to waste money and provide the online graduate with courses and training (on topics) that their in-class peer is already familiar with.”

However, a source from the Civil Service Bureau told Jordan News that in the public sector, all hiring applications they receive are treated the same, as long as the graduate’s certificate is issued by one of Jordan’s official universities. 

Despite this, former bureau chief Haytham Hijazi told Jordan News that the outcomes of online teaching are “definitely unequal” to the outcomes of in-class teaching.

“Even in the public sector, money has to be wasted to train the accepted employees and guarantee a decent quality of work in different public sectors,” Hijazi said. “We can’t reject them, but we have to spend money on training instead of spending it on restorations of remote schools for example.”

“When COVID-19 first struck, countries around the world closed the teaching sector last, and reopened it the moment the epidemiological situation stabilized, but Jordan did the exact opposite,” he added. “We truly underestimate the importance of the quality of education in all aspects of life.”

“Before the pandemic, online university certificates were always looked down on by the government. In some cases, these certificates were not even recognized as an actual certificate. But now, I’m surprised by the enthusiasm with which the government addresses online certificates.”

Sixth-year medical student Youmn Sejari at the University of Jordan shared medical students’ particular struggle in online classes.

“The outcomes of studying sixth year, the most important year, online will definitely have consequences for our residency programs’ acceptance rates outside the Kingdom. Students who studied their final year on campus and practiced in hospitals will surely have better chances to get accepted,” Sejari told Jordan News.

Abdel Rahman Abu Rumman, a resident internist, told Jordan News that medical students now get half the amount of hospital rounds that previous students used to get, which has “affected the amount of practical knowledge they should be receiving.”

Sejari added that professors realize that students are not getting the amount of knowledge and experience as they should so they “tend to make the exams longer and more difficult, and cancelled the pass/fail system, thinking we’re going to study harder and amend what we’ve lost in online classes, which is only ruining our mental state and well-being.”

Notably, on Wednesday, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Mohammad Abu Qudais said in media statements that summer courses would be conducted remotely, and that the first semester of the academic year 2021–2022 will be 70 percent online and 30 percent in person.

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