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Maani touts university performance after Kuwait cancels accreditation


The Jordan Times


AMMAN — Minister of Education and Minister of Higher Education Walid Maani on Saturday attributed Kuwait's recent decision to revoke the accreditation of 15 Jordanian universities to a number of different reasons, inlcuding a rise in the number of universities in Gulf countries.
The cancellation announcement from Kuwait came before Qatar announced on Saturday that it was not cancelling the accreditation of any university, but rather taking measures to redistribute the large number of Qatari students studying in Jordan among different universities, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
A third of the 3,000 Qatari students studying at Jordanian universities do so at one school, according to Maani. 
The minister cited a surge in private universities and the expansion of many public universities in the Gulf. 
During a phone interview with The Jordan Times, Maani added that the decisions could be because many students from the Gulf are unwilling to travel outside their countries after the opening of new universities.
He noted that last year, accreditation committees from Qatar and Kuwait visited the Kingdom, where they voiced concerns regarding “some” university programmes. 
The Higher Education Council addressed the issues, according to Maani, which included intensive summer courses containing 45 credit hours and holding two summer semesters in one.
Both the intensive courses and the doubled-up semesters were cancelled, the minister said, noting that now if a summer semester is eight-weeks long, a student can only take 9 credit hours, and if it is 10 weeks long, students can enrol in 12 credit hours. 
"Therefore, we addressed some of their [accreditation committees’] concerns, which were conveyed to us last year," Maani said, adding that they also met with several cultural attachés to listen to their concerns, and referred them to university presidents as well. 
The Higher Education Ministry and the council were therefore proactive about all concerns before any decisions were made, the minister said.
He noted that Kuwait has also done the same with Egypt, and now only acknowledges the accreditation of seven Egyptian universities. 
Fourteen Jordanian universities are listed among the best 100 universities in the region, and the Kingdom’s universities teach 42,000 students hailing from 105 different countries, according to Maani.
Kuwaiti Ambassador to Jordan Aziz Dehani, in previous remarks on Friday, said that there are more than 4,000 Kuwaitis studying at Jordanian universities, highlighting the status of higher education institutions in Jordan, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 
Dehani said that Kuwait’s decision was based on an organisational vision to redistribute Kuwaiti students to different Jordanian universities in order to ensure a diversity of majors for graduates. 
As for students that have already enrolled at the Jordanian universities whose accreditation has been revoked; the students will continue their studies without change, the ambassador said, adding that Kuwait looks forward to enhancing cooperation between the two countries’ education institutions. 
In February this year, Maani and Ahmad Kawwari, director general of the anti-narcotics department in Qatar, discussed means of increasing the number of Qatari students at Jordanian universities.

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