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October 21 2021 8:38 PM ˚

Education quality deficit

Jawad Anani (Photo: Jordan News)
(Photo: Jordan News)
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Hattori Hanzō is a fictional character in Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill: Volume 1. He is supposed to be a sushi chef, but in fact he is an accomplished sword smith.اضافة اعلان

He makes a perfect specimen for the heroine Bride or Black Mamba, to allow her to take her revenge on those who tried to kill her and her unborn baby.

In the movie Defending Your Life, Albert Brooks plays the role of Daniel Miller, a poor negotiator who is too scared to forge ahead in life. He buys himself a new car after finding a better job at a wage lower than he had intended to ask for. Yet, he dies in a car accident and goes to the new everlasting world. He is tested for deserving a new opportunity to be reincarnated for a second chance, and he fails the test miserably. His biggest sin was that he notoriously squandered every opportunity that had come his way.

Arabs were fond of swords, and they even named their sons Saif, Hussam, and Muhannad, all of which are different synonyms for sword. The Dimashqi was a famous sword manufactured in Damascus, thus called the Arabic equivalent of Damascene. Ali ibn Abi Taleb, the Prophet’s cousin and his son-in-law, used a sword called Thu Al-Fakar, a two-pronged sword with which he had bravely fought many battles. The Arab folk hero, Antara Ibn Shaddad, a colored poet and a great swordsman, was as famous as his sword and horse.

If the sword is well welded and balanced with flawless stature, and sharp edge, it will be a perfect one.

The most celebrated Arab poet, Al-Mutanabbi, who lived more than a millennium ago, said in a poem which he composed at the age of eighteen:

“I often wondered at those who were like perfect swords with stature and sharp edge, yet they cut like a dull one. And I have never seen a bigger drawback in people than the ones who have the potential to be perfect, yet they fail the test of being so.”

According to Khaled Wazani with whom I held a seminar last week at the Yarmouk University, Jordan hold the 7th place out of 138 countries in the higher education indicator. In terms of student quality, Jordan ranked 17th among the 138 countries included in the ranking. These two indicators put Jordan at very advanced levels in terms of possibilities.

Yet, the outcome in terms of performance is disappointing. The UNDP ranking of performance in six different fields of human pursuit ranked Jordan at 75th. In terms of quality of education, Jordan ranked 72nd. For undergraduate studies it ranked 42nd, for masters studies it ranked 95th, and for doctorates it ranked 55th.

These statistics are telling. We have the potential to be among the top, yet when it comes to quality of output we occupy positions revealing a high degree of mediocrity.

The question is why? At home, the students and their families prepare their children to be hungry for knowledge, however, that enthusiasm and deep desire to excel is dulled at our universities. Such wasted potential serves as a very good starting point to reform our college education. We need to create students with life skills not only with licenses. We have to instill in them a sense of drive to do their best, and be market-ready when they find jobs.

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