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Jubilee In Brief
  
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UJ's History
 
 

School education expanded remarkably following Jordan's independence in 1946. In the late forties and fifties there was a great demand for programs at the bachelor's level to enable Jordanian students to pursue their higher education at home. Several Jordanian institutions and personalities submitted proposals to this effect.

Towards the end of 1961, a British Committee undertook a visit to the headquarters of the Jordanian Armed Forces to discuss its needs of arms. The response they received, then, was that “Jordan is not in need of traditional arms and equipment, it is in need of equipping its youth with modern education.”

Subsequently, a British delegation was invited to the Kingdom from October 23 - November 5, 1961 to assess the potential of setting up a university in Jordan. The delegation comprised the following members:

  • Sir Douglas Veale, Late Registrar, University of Oxford (Leader),
  • Dr. W. W. Grave, Master of FitzWilliam House, University of Cambridge, and
  • Professor R. L. Wain, Wye College, University of London.

At the end of their exploratory visit, the delegation came up with a 22-page report about the overall status of education in Jordan and the urgent need to establish the first university in Jordan. In the report, they said: “After weighing the various factors, some in favor and some against, we have reached the conclusion that the time has come for a university to be set up. We feel strongly, however, that in the initial stages, the economic and social needs of the country should be the principal factor in determining the subjects to be available for study. This short-term development which we recommend must be so planned as to lead on without disturbance to further developments as and when opportunity offers.

We, therefore, recommend that immediate steps be taken towards the establishment of a university, on a well-chosen site, which should allow for the provision of residential accommodation at some future date, even if it is not provided at once.”

About the future aspirations of the university, the report read as follows:
“We should regret any assumption that the establishment of a university should be for the sole purpose of turning out graduates, for in two most important respects it should be more than this. Any university institution, if it is to win the respect of the academic world, must apply itself to the advancement of knowledge no less than to its dissemination. On its staff, there must be men and women dedicated to the investigation of intellectual problems on their own account, and capable of creating a thirst for knowledge among their pupils. It has been proven over and over again that the best teachers are those who are at the same time advancing the frontiers of knowledge in their own field. Further - and here we revert to our declared concern with the practical problems of Jordan - it is by such activity that the university would become a main center of enquiry into the physical and social problems of the country. Within its precincts, there could grow up succeeding generations of students with an understanding of the sociological and technical problems of their country, and, as practical experience was added to their theoretical knowledge, these scholars would be in a position to make an outstanding contribution towards their solution.”

The report was submitted to His Majesty King Hussein who immediately gave his directives to the then Prime Minister, in a letter he dispatched to him on February 12, 1962, to set up a Royal Commission for Educational Affairs (RCEA) and to entrust it with the task of investigating the potential, prospects, and difficulties towards the establishment of the first university in Jordan.

Driven with a sense of duty, RCEA accomplished its mission diligently and promptly, and on August 18, 1962, came up with a recommendation calling for the immediate need for establishing a university in Jordan with a view to meeting the ever-increasing demands for higher education in Jordan.

Subsequently, His Majesty King Hussein issued a Royal Decree on September 2, 1962, ordaining the establishment of the first ever 4-year institution of higher education in Jordan.