The Higher Council For Science And Technology (HCST)
Niversities must Boost Research — Prince Hassan

HRH Prince Hassan, president of the Higher Council for Science and Technology, speaks at a ceremony to honour the winners of the 2012 El Hassan Bin Talal Award for Scientific Excellence on Thursday (Petra photo).


AMMAN — HRH Prince Hassan, president of the Higher Council for Science and Technology (HCST), on Thursday said the demand for university degrees as a social status symbol is the reason behind high unemployment among university graduates.


Speaking at a ceremony to honour the winners of the 2012 El Hassan Bin Talal Award for Scientific Excellence, the Prince added that the accelerating growth in the number of university students, reaching 225,800 in 2010, is placing pressure on higher education institutions.


He noted that 70 per cent of students in universities are there because of makrumas or grants, while only 30 per cent earned their places through merit.


Prince Hassan said the Kingdom has witnessed “everything that could have transformed it into a knowledge-based society during the past 10 years, but the services it provides are basic”, citing the lack of quality scientific research that could lead to a “conceptual revolution”.


“Jordan only spends 3 to 4 per cent of its gross domestic product on scientific research… I urge officials from the higher education institutions and teachers to encourage critical thinking and analytical skills,” said the Prince.


He also called on the press to focus on scientific innovations “as much as it focuses on politics and entertainment”.


This year’s award targeted higher education institutions (excluding technical education). According to the HCST, 17 applicants representing 10 institutions across the Kingdom participated in the awards.


The first prize of JD7,000 went to University of Jordan for two projects: the achievements of the Hamdi Mango Centre for Scientific Research (1999-2011) and the pharmacy faculty of excellence.


The German-Jordanian University (GJU) and Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) shared the second prize of JD5,000.

The GJU was recognised for two projects — its diploma programme for visual rehabilitation and its energy, water and environment engineering and management programmes — while PSUT came second for its information systems security and digital criminology master’s degree programme.


Yarmouk University and the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) shared the third prize, valued at JD3,000.


Yarmouk University won for its project on the experience of the Hijjawi faculty for engineering technology in bridging the gap between the curriculum and market needs, while JUST won for its establishment of the first programme in clinical pharmacy in Jordan.


During the ceremony, the head of the jury, Mohammad Abu Hammour, said the award is now a “fixed ritual” in the academic life of Jordan.

Members of the jury, which included experts in the fields of engineering, IT, economy, medicine and pharmacy, chose the winners based on their ability to make a significant contribution to the Kingdom’s economic, social or cultural life.


Their Royal Highnesses Prince Raad, the Chief Chamberlain, and Princess Sumaya, president of El Hassan Science City, attended the ceremony along with former ministers, and political and media figures.


The award, established in 1995 to encourage academic, scientific and technological activities, is granted annually to winners in one of three categories: institutions of general education, higher education and vocational and technical education.


12 / 04 / 2012
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