Self-governance for Jordanian universities: reform the Jordanian University Law

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Jordanian universities suffers from low levels of academic freedom and from lack of independence from the political power, thus, resulting in a total absence of shared governance practices and involvement of relevant stakeholdres in decision-making. Moreover, there is a total absence of unions for academics and professors, with the only exceptions of students unions in some univeristies in the country.

Furthermore, participation of Jordanian youth in politics and decision-making at large is extremely limited. This is partly due to the universities' governance structure highly controlled by the political power and with little, if not any, space for students to be involved in decision-making and to engage in fruitful discussions with their peers and professors. Education is rather seen as instruction: it is not empowering them to think critically and to be aware of their citizens' rights. 

We, at the Amman Center for Human Rights Studies (ACHRS), believe that a high degree of academic freedom and administrative independence in universities is necessary in order to enhance the democratic process in Jordan, because it is the primary way to forge students as future citizens and to make them develop their ability to think critically. Thus, with this petition we ask members of the Jordanian House of Representatives to take actions to make amendments to the Jordanian Universities Law no. 20 of 2009. In particular, we suggest to:

  • Reform article 9, par. B, in a way that the members of the board of trustees will be nominated by royal decree, upon majority vote by the parliament’s education committee.
  • Reform article 12, par. B and C, to make the board of trustees responsible for the nomination of the Presidents of the University. 
  • Reform article 15, par B, in a way to introduce an election mechanism of the university’s students and graduates representative to the university council.
  • Reform article 18, par. A, to make the board of trustees resposnible for the appointment of the deans of the facutlies, upon consultation with the President of University taking into consideration the willing of teaching staff as resulting from an internal election.
  • Introducing a specific article, after article 32, that will allow professors, academics, researchers and students to freely form and join unions as well as to freely join political parties.