The Tawjihi grade will no longer be the only qualifying factor for students wishing to attend one of the Kingdom’s four medical faculties after admission criteria is changed next year, a senior government official said on Monday.
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Wajih Owais said the decision came as a result of the large number of students who scored high grades in the Tawjihi (General Secondary School Certificate) examination, but cannot study the subject of their choice.
The minister said many students scored grades that made them eligible to study medicine but they were not accepted by medical faculties, which led to the decision "not to consider the Tawjihi grade as the main requirement for university admission".
According to education ministry figures, 19,087 scientific stream students passed the Tawjihi exams in the 2010-2011 school year, with 1,788 scoring above 95 per cent, 5,580 above 90 per cent and 9,497 above 85 per cent.
The minimum admission rate for medical schools is 85 per cent, but due to limited space only 350 students were accepted for the new academic year, which begins on September 18.
"Starting next year, this decision will be implemented at the four universities which teach medicine," Owais said at a press conference yesterday to announce the names of students admitted to the country's 10 public universities, adding that these institutions will come up with new admission criteria for students.
The University of Jordan, the Jordan University of Science and Technology, Mutah University and the Hashemite University have medical schools.
Although the final criteria have yet to be established, the minister noted that "students may need to complete pre-medical courses", before they sit for an exam to determine whether they can pursue medicine or should switch to another major.
Owais added that the admission criteria should be uniform at the four medical schools.
The minister also said the Higher Education Council is currently examining an application from a private institution to establish a new medical university.
"We will not license this university unless they agree to send 15 to 20 medical graduates to the US to continue their higher education and to specialise in subjects that the ministry defines, based on the country's needs,” Owais said, adding that the ministry will select those students based on their performance.
During yesterday’s press conference, the minister also explained that within two years, admission to scientific areas of study will be directly through the concerned university instead of the Unified Admission Committee, in line with the policy of “giving the Kingdom's universities their independence".