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Experts welcome amendments to Jordanian Universities Law


Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas,


AMMAN — Several experts on Monday voiced their support for the amendments made to the Jordanian Universities Law while some called for studying the matter comprehensively to ensure the decision brings long-term benefits.  
The Lower House on Sunday passed the amendments, which will restrict the establishment of centres for education, training, consultation and services outside university campuses, and also ban universities from establishing schools, special programmes or liaison offices off campuses.
Hashemite University President Kamal Bani Hani told The Jordan Times on Monday that he supports the decision to restrict facilities to campuses. 
"I am absolutely with this decision and I support it because whatever universities need can be installed on campus," he added. 
Economist Husam Ayesh said: "I do not know the reasons for taking this decision but I can say that the goal might be to ensure universities are not conducting any commercial activities that affect the teaching process."
Ayesh said the amendments could encourage universities to invest in their campuses; however, many universities in developed nations have centres, labs and facilities outside the campus affiliated with them. 
"Teaching nowadays is a continuous process that does not end when students graduate, so all universities need to think of ways to increase their income on one hand and still keep in touch with their graduates on the other to improve their abilities and skills, which could make having all facilities built on campus a good thing," he said.
However, the costs to build certain facilities on campus could be higher compared to building them outside, and yet "I support having facilities either on campus or near it for the educational benefit."
Nonetheless, Ayesh said that the decision “minimises universities' positive impact outside the campus”.
“Universities do not exist to serve themselves only, but to benefit society and have a role in the community, which could mean sometimes there needs to be centres and facilities outside campus,” Ayesh said. 
In conclusion, the economist said the decision should not be made based on a single standard, even if it is an important and positive one, but rather, should be studied more comprehensively to check its long-term impacts, whether on education or the economy. 
For his part, University of Jordan (UJ) President Abdul Kareem Qudah said that he "sees no problem in the decision" and that UJ has all the facilities it needs on campus, with no need arising, so far, to build anything off campus. 

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