AMMAN — The Lower House Financial Committee on Wednesday discussed the 2024 budgets of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, as well as the Jordan Academy of Arabic.

During a meeting, attended by Minister of Education and Minister of Scientific Research and Higher Education Azmi Mahafza, MP Namer Al Suleihat, the panel head , highlighted the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education over the past year, especially the implementation of the “Baitik” education system.

The Ministry of Education budget for 2024 reached JD1.254 billion, showing an increase of JD64.4 million compared with the 2023 reassessment, he said, noting that this allocation included JD1.1 billion for current expenditure, with an increase of about JD44.4 million, and JD146 million for capital expenditure, which includes schools, curriculum development, book printing, and classroom expansion. The ministry’s budget accounts for 42.5 per cent of the civil apparatus, he noted.

Minister of Education highlighted the Education Ministry’s plans to establish new vocational training centres across the Kingdom, noting that the number of vocational training students has reached 18,000.

The ministry has established six vocational schools, he said, noting the availability of a UAE grant for building and equipping five others. He also added that the new format of the General Secondary Education Certificate (Tawjihi) exam will be implemented in the next academic year (2024/2025) for 11th grade students, requiring students to study all subjects in the curriculum in order to qualify for the first part of the Tawjihi, which focuses on “general cultural subjects”.

The budget of the Ministry of Higher Education reached JD116.3 million, marking an increase of about JD20 million compared to the 2023 reassessment. The budget included JD83.2 million for current expenditure, with an increase of JD5.6 million, and JD33.1 million for capital expenditure, showing an increase of JD14.3 million, according to Suleihat.

The Minister of Higher Education also highlighted an increase in university support from JD70 to JD75 million and in the Student Support Fund from JD10 to JD20 million. The deficit in the Student Support Fund totalled JD80 million, while the outstanding student loans reached JD66 million, he said, noting that no new instructions will be issued regarding the Student Support Fund and what was issued is the new bylaw that will be discussed further.

The total number of students in Jordanian universities is about 400,000, including 125,000 in private universities and about 46,000 international students from 111 countries, the minister said.

Sulaihat said that the modest budget of the Jordan Academy of Arabic reached some JD1 million, which a decrease JD25,000 compared with 2023’s budget.

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