To achieve these goals, NCHRD carries out the following activities and tasks:
The NCHRD is performing a major task of coordinating work between national bodies that implement projects in general and higher education, in addition to vocational and technical education. It further coordinates projects undertaken in cooperation with international funding agencies, in terms of helping local implementing bodies in preparing and evaluating the sub-projects submitted for review and approval to the “Intermediary Council”. The Center prepares progress reports to the funding agencies on status of implementation. This assumed role of coordination serves the following objectives:
Ensuring conformity and congruity and directing investment to national priorities.
Developing institutional capacities in monitoring, following up and evaluating projects.
Securing sectoral, rather than partial perspectives of development.
Another aspect of coordination is of an external nature, involving organizations providing funds for reform projects and programs, especially the World Bank, the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation, the European Union and the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). The Center is also active in securing additional resources and opportunities for training and scholarships.
II. Information Systems
Preparation of an educational database at the national level was one of the many outstanding activities of NCHRD, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education. The Center keeps updating and upgrading this database with the MOE and utilizing it in planning and deriving educational indicators, so that decisions will be based on reliable and timely data.
The Center is currently working on establishing a Human Resources Development Information System, in cooperation with Human Resources Development Canada, in an attempt to link the outcomes of education and training systems with the needs of socioeconomic development.
III. Training and Consultations
The experience attained by the NCHRD in the field of Education Management Information Systems was of great practical importance. It meant that the Center could play its role as a “center of excellence”, offering consultation and training services in this vital area at the local and regional levels. On the local level, these efforts were manifested in the continuous cooperation with the Ministry of Education for the purpose of developing an efficient information system. When completed, the project users will be able to derive education indicators readily and use them for planning purposes.
The NCHRD has published a report on education indicators where the change in these indicators was followed up over a period of four consecutive years until 1993. Preparations are underway at present to publish a new set of indicators.
At the regional level, NCHRD is offering training and consultation services in the area of education information systems, and large-scale studies on quality of education for a number of Arab countries. These countries included the Sultanate of Oman, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Yemen and the Palestinian National Authority.
Furthermore, the NCHRD occasionally hosts delegations from Arab and other countries and international organizations to get acquainted with its experience and activities. In this regard, delegations from the Sultanate of Oman, Yemen, Tunisia, Sudan, Algeria and Turkey visited the Center. As a result of the Center’s experience in the area of education information systems, the Center is considered as a focal point for education indicators in the Arab region.
IV. Research and Evaluation
Research, especially policy-oriented one, is a primary task of the Center. In this area, researchers from the Center, Jordanian universities and the Ministry of Education conducted around eighty studies addressing different aspects of the educational system and strategies of human resources development. More specifically, these studies dealt with topics such as:
Teacher training and upgrading programs.
A national strategy for human resources development.
Indicators of human resources development.
Indicators of vocational and technical education.
Monitoring learning achievement.
The Third International Study on science and mathematics.
Other topics such as evaluating programs of vocational and technical education.
The annex shows a list of the studies that have been published since the establishment of the Center. The NCHRD, in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and other institutions, has carried out a national survey to monitor and assess learning achievement since 1993. The survey continues to be implemented periodically once every two years dealing with specific subjects and classes each time. The methodology of this survey was an example followed by UNESCO and other organizations in carrying out some of their activities in Arab and other countries. The NCHRD has proven to be outstanding in implementing and running such a national survey, thus becoming a source of expertise that is demanded by the institutions aspiring to improve the quality of education. In this regard, the NCHRD offered technical consultations on the research design, data analysis and report writing to a number of Arab countries such as the Sultanate of Oman, Sudan and Syria, with UNICEF and UNESCO funding.
The NCHRD participated in the Third International Mathematics and Science Study - Repeat (TIMSS-R) in 1999 with 40 countries including three Arab countries to assess grade eight students performance in these two subjects. The Center has also participated in many other international activities such as the international Conference on Community Colleges, and all the meetings of coordinators for the Third International Study of Mathematics and Science Study – Repeat (TIMSS-R) since 1997.
The Center has lately conducted, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, a set of evaluative studies addressing the impact of programs of the education reform plan, so as to identify the factors that either facilitate or impede implementation on the one hand, and to assess the degree to which these programs have achieved their objectives in improving the quality of education, on the other.
These studies deal with areas of curricula, teacher training programs, school textbooks, school and public exams, educational administration, and school buildings and facilities program.
Moreover, the Center is currently carrying out studies addressing unemployment, use of information technology in teaching, and analyzing the data of the two national and international studies on student learning level and their errors.
The Center has other contributions in holding training workshops related to vocational training curricula, vocational exams, practice teaching, in addition to other activities related to visiting experts.
The NCHRD hosts and coordinates the activities of various development projects. These projects include Education Reform Project, Higher Education Development Project, Improvement of the Teacher Education Program at Jordanian Universities Project, the Economic Development through Technical Assistance Project, and the Human Resources Information System Project. By hosting these projects, the Center offers its services in terms of coordinating the relevant activities and programs among national bodies executing the projects on the one hand, and the funding organizations on the other. The Center also covers the operational expenses of these projects on behalf of the participating governmental institutions.
A) The Education Reform Project (1989-2001)
When the NCHRD was established, the primary mission was to serve as a specialized technical arm assisting the national bodies which were carrying out the Education Reform Program in preparing their projects, evaluating them, managing expenditures on the projects, and obtaining the necessary technical assistance to build and strengthen national capacities, for the purpose of implementing the education reform operations. The technical personnel of the Center appraise the subprojects submitted by the executing bodies (Ministry of Education, Ministry of Higher Education (lately Balqa Applied University), Jordanian universities and Vocational Training Corporation).
Furthermore, the Center prepares periodic progress reports for the funding organizations, especially the World Bank. This project is considered the largest one for general education in Jordan as its cost mounts to US $ 438 million.
The project’s activities are supervised by the “Intermediary Council” or the Policy Council, which is chaired by the President of NCHRD, and whose members include:
Secretary General of the Ministry of Planning.
Secretary General of the Ministry of Education.
Director General of the Vocational Training Corporation.
Representative of the Ministry of Planning.
Representative of community colleges/ Balqa Applied University.
Two Directors from the Ministry of Education.
B) Higher Education Development Project
The NCHRD is hosting and managing this project which aims to set and develop higher education policies dealing with components relevant to the reform of the university programs in Jordanian governmental universities.
The cost of the six years project is $65.8 millions of which 50% is financed through a loan from the World Bank, while the rest is covered by the government of Jordan and the concerned universities.
The project consists of the following components:
System-wide improvement, and this includes the following:
A. Improvement of the efficiency and management of the system through:
Strengthening planning and administrative capacities.
Setting up a technical secretarial unit for the Higher Council of Education.
Adopting an effective system for resource allocation among theuniversities.
Establishment of a management information system.
B. Improvement of quality, and this includes:
Reform of university programs.
Setting up staff development centers for the teaching staff.
Linking universities with one another through an electronic network.
Linking the university libraries with an electronic computer system.
Development of university programs:
Graduate programs. Linkages to industry and production sectors.
Reform of community colleges.
The management of reform in higher education:
The Higher Education Development Board.
A National Advisory Committee.
A Central Technical Unit.
University implementation units.
C) The Economic Development through Technical Assistance Project: First Phase 1995 – 2000
Second Phase 2001 - 2003
This project is implemented through a grant offered by the Canadian International Development Agency (3 million JDs in the first phase and 2.4 million in the second one). It is carried out by the Association of Canadian Community Colleges in cooperation with the NCHRD, Ministry of Planning, Balqa Applied University, Ministry of Education and Vocational Training Corporation, to reform community colleges as well as technical and vocational education and training in Jordan.
The main goal of the project is to improve links with the labor market, and to strengthen the structure and management of technical/vocational training and education.
The project is part of the government’s strategy to reform and develop technical/vocational training and education. It tackles the issues of technical/vocational training and education as a development priority. The first national strategic plan to reform community colleges was formulated through this project. This strategic plan now constitutes the methodology of work at Balqa Applied University, giving momentum to its efforts to reform the technical education programs for the community colleges, so that these programs would meet the needs of the productive sector and national development priorities. The project focuses on the activation of the role of the private sector in the design, management and implementation of vocational and technical education programs.
The emphasis of the second phase of the project is on developing relations with industry, accreditation, training teachers and micro planning, in addition to continuity in developing the programs of the Vocational Training Corporation, and the vocational schools of the Ministry of education.
D) Teacher Education Improvement at Jordanian Universities Project (1996-2002)
This project is implemented through a grant (3.3 million JDs) by the European Union, and a contribution from Jordanian universities and the NCHRD of about 1.2 million JDs. The aim of this project is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of teacher education programs at Jordanian universities and enhancing their capacities to cater for the national educational needs through: · Improving the quality of teacher education programs by linking them with the needs of the trainees and raising their efficiency, with special emphasis on the improvement of practice teaching. · Enhancing the national capacities in the field of the design and management of teacher education programs. · Improving the quality of graduate programs in education, and strengthening their links with the needs of the educational system. · Strengthening cooperation between the Jordanian higher education institutions and EU institutions. · Capacity building to cope with renewed needs of the education sector (fellowships). The project comprises the following components: · Management: The NCHRD runs the project and coordinates its activities through a steering committee which includes the deans of the faculties of education and the European Union; and a management unit composed of the project manager, project coordinator and representatives of Universities. · Program development: - Training the supervisors of practice teaching at the universities (60 persons). - Provision of technical assistance to review the academic plans. - Setting up a network of cooperative schools. · Institutional capacity improvement: - Technical services to improve graduate programs. - Enhancement of research capacities. - Exchange of visits. - Provision of education resources and equipment needed in cooperative schools and colleges. - Scholarships to European Universities (26 Ph.D. and 5 MA).
E) The Human Resources Development Information System Project (2000-2003)
The Center started working on this project at the beginning of 2000 in cooperation with the Ministry of Planning, the National Information Center, the General Directorate of Statistics, the Ministry of Education and the Vocational Training Corporation. The project comprises two broad aspects of information: First, information on education and training, addressing the present and future labor force supply according to educational and skill characteristics. Second, information addressing the present and the future characteristics of the labor market in terms of educational and skill requirements, work conditions, pay, and the supply-demand indicators. The project will yield reliable information that provides fast and efficient linkage between the available skills of work seekers and job opportunities. It will further enable employers and work seekers, or those planning to join the labor market, to make informed decisions. The system will also provide information that helps educational and training institutions (Ministry of Education, Universities, Vocational Training Corporation and the private sector) to modify their training programs in accordance with the changes in the labor market. Besides, the system will provide information that enables decision makers, planners, employers, employees and students to better understand issues related to labor market trends. The project comprises the following components: 1. Basic data (statistics and indicators) on labor force, human resources, supply and demand. 2. Business database. 3. Counseling tools including requirements of skills, study programs and demand expectations. 4. Electronic labor exchange (electronic recruitment), whereby the system will provide a search service through matching the job seeker’s skills with available job opportunities. CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) has allocated one million Canadian dollar (half a million JDs) as a grant to implement the project in three years. The Canadian Ministry of Human Resources Development in conjunction with the NCHRD and other bodies have started implementing the project. The estimated cost of the project amounts to about one million JDs, half of which is a grant by CIDA. It is expected to be accomplished by the end of the year 2002.
VI. Other Coordination and Funding Activities
The NCHRD performs various coordination and funding activities. In particular, it has secured the necessary funding for a number of comprehensive educational studies conducted by researchers from Jordanian Universities. Furthermore, it also offers limited funding to a number of activities related to human resources development. An example of this is the financial support given to the “Disaster Management Center” project, sponsored by the Hashemite Charity Commission. The NCHRD cooperates with several organizations in holding specialized seminars in various fields. Researchers from the Center participated in a number of seminars and conferences organized by other bodies whether locally or abroad. The Center also provides financial support to conferences and seminars addressing issues of human resources development.
VII. Human Resources Development Strategy
This document identifies a set of issues, objectives and policies related to the components comprising the concept of human resources development. It is an organized endeavor that takes into consideration the primary as well as the secondary sectors included in the concept of human resources development, within an organized and comprehensive framework, linking the two aspects of demand and supply. It further stresses conformity and congruence in policies and mechanisms so as to secure an efficient contribution to human resources development and utilization. This document has benefited from an evaluative study on the status of human resources development in Jordan. The study was conducted by the Royal Scientific Society in collaboration with the NCHRD, and supervised by a specialized committee representing the various concerned agencies. The strategy was the main working document of the Sixth Scientific Week (1-5/9/1998) held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Al-Hassan Bin Talal, President of the Higher Council for Science and Technology. More than 150 specialists from both sectors, the public and the private, participated in discussing this document. The document on “Human Resources Development Strategy” won the approval of the Cabinet in its meeting held on November 21, 1998, initiating a signal to start an organized effort aiming at developing Jordanian human resources, through the initiation of programs and implementation plans addressing the basic issues in the various sectors. The document first dealt with the concept of human resources development using a model that identified and dealt with the following major components: planning, information system, labor market organization, private sector role, general and vocational education, higher education, non-formal education, funding, and the regional dimension of human resources development. The document adopted a unified approach in dealing with these components in terms of highlighting the major issues, the objectives set for development and the proposed policies for achieving these objectives.
VIII. The NCHRD on the Internet
Due to the great role which the mass media play in all aspects of contemporary life, the NCHRD has developed a web-site on the Internet that includes information on its background, goals, activities and summaries of the major studies. The Center’s web-site includes also indicators on education, and human resources development in Jordan. Such information can be found on the following web site: www.nchrd.gov.jo