Seven years after its establishment, the German Jordanian University (GJU) is looking to become financially independent soon and upgrade its admission criteria, according to GJU President Labib Al Khadra.
In a recent interview with The Jordan Times, he said the GJU seeks to stand on its own feet by 2014 and stop receiving any support from the government.
Khadra explained that tuition fees will help the university cover its operational expenses as they are higher than other public universities.
During the establishment phase, “we calculated the fees that a student should pay to cover the cost, and based on that we decided on the tuition”, he said, adding that the annual fees currently stand at around JD3,000.
Khadra said the GJU will always maintain a high standard in terms of the programmes it provides and the quality of students, by accepting high school graduates based on their abilities and not just their Tawjihi grade, which is used as a basic criterion for admission in other universities in the Kingdom.
He noted that although the GJU is a public university, students have to apply to it directly and not through the Unified Admission Committee.
“Those wishing to join the university should sit for an admission exam in the subject they want to study and their Tawjihi grades must be a minimum of 75 per cent,” Khadra said, adding that the minimum average for admission might be raised to 80 per cent for those who do their Tawjihi in Jordan, and 95 per cent for foreign students and Jordanians who graduate from high schools in other countries.
He noted that there are 2,800 students in the university currently, while 250 have already graduated and some are pursuing their higher education in the US and UK.
Many graduates managed to find jobs in the companies that they trained with in Germany, as GJU students have to study and train for one academic year in Germany, according to Khadra.
“Some German companies that have investments in the region prefer to hire employees locally… We contacted them, and they employed some of the university graduates,” he noted, adding that the university is studying the possibility of introducing a master's in railway engineering.
In addition, GJU seeks to encourage scientific research among students, Khadra said, noting that the permanent campus being built in Mushaqar in Madaba, which will be ready by the 2011/2012 academic year, is equipped with laboratories.
“In three years, we will stop introducing new undergraduate programmes. Instead we will have master programmes to encourage scientific research,” he said.
Violence free campus
The GJU is one of a few Jordanian universities that has not witnessed any campus violence, which has risen in both state-run and private universities over the past few years.
Khadra attributed this state of affairs to the fact that GJU students are engaged in a full programme which keeps them busy with academic activities.
In addition, “we are in direct contact with our students and always listen to their demands”, he said.
Moreover, the current faculty-student ratio in GJU is 1:15, according to Khadra, who added that the university has provided postgraduate scholarships to 50 students.
The GJU was founded in 2005 by a Royal Decree, in accordance with a memorandum of understanding reached between the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Germany's federal ministry of education and research.
It is modelled on German universities of applied sciences, characterised by their focus on putting knowledge into practice and promoting knowledge transfer, according to GJU.
Subjects taught at the university include energy, water and environment, and maintenance engineering, as well as international accounting and translation.
During a visit to Germany last November, His Majesty King Abdullah described the university as successful joint project between Jordan and Germany.
“I am very encouraged with the level of cooperation and especially successful joint projects, such as the German Jordanian University,” the King said in a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.