This European Training Foundation (ETF) assessment was prepared in 2020 on the basis of a national report produced by the national authorities of Jordan with the help of a standardised framework questionnaire (the National Reporting Framework – NRF).
The assessment process included an extensive phase of desk research based on information provided by Jordan in its Torino Process national report National report of Jordan, prepared in the framework of the Torino Process, 2020. Accessible at https://openspace.etf.europa.eu/trp/torino-process-2018-2020-jordan-national-report
and the preparation of an issues paper with an overview of themes for discussion in the assessment. These efforts were then finalised in consultations within the ETF.
Jordan is a country of 10 million inhabitants (10.1 million in 2019) with limited natural resources and a high degree of dependence on foreign assistance. In only a few years since 2015, the population of Jordan has increased by 9% because of a massive influx of refugees from neighbouring countries.
The population of Jordan is young. A sizeable share of the population (52.9% in 2019) is below the age of 25, and youth aged 15–24 account for 19.4% of the total population. However, a considerable proportion of these young people (38.1% in 2017) are not in employment, education or training. Another challenge for the economy is that only 34.3% of the working-age population is economically active, whereas 19.1% of them were unemployed in 2019.
Demographic and migration developments create economic pressures that have a negative impact on the country's economic development. Political instability in the region and its associated refugee flows are among the most significant factors to have an impact on the society and economy. This is because they complicate the pressing task of catering to the needs of a large, increasingly diverse group of vulnerable people who require attention, support, and sustainable policy solutions. The group also includes people living below the poverty line, who account for 16% of the Jordanian population. At the same time the need for employment among Jordanians, especially among young people, is increasing at a rate that exceeds the supply of jobs.
Jordan has put in place a range of strategies for social and economic development in all sectors under the responsibility of its government. The National Employment Strategy (NES), for example, commits to improving the standard of living for Jordanians through increased employment, wages and benefits and higher productivity. To this end, education and training providers are called to graduate a 'skilled and motivated labour force, armed with employable skills and technical know-how in demand by the labour market'. The Council of Ministers has also instigated a comprehensive implementation/action plan and an implementation team for the NES under the leadership of the Ministry of Labour, while the VET-related effort mostly focuses on governance-related reforms that include changes to the composition of the Employment, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ETVET) board and the inclusion of TVET providers in the system of accreditation under the responsibility of the Accreditation and Quality Assurance Commission for Higher Education (AQACHEI). Broadly, the goal of the governance-related reforms is to raise the attractiveness of VET for Jordanians and boost work-based learning.
The National E-TVET Strategy 2014–2020, which links to the broader human capital development (HCD) commitments in the NES, covers five pillars: governance; the labour market relevance of education and training; the inclusion of women, youth, and people with disabilities; better monitoring systems; and sustainable funding for TVET.
At the time of this assessment, the strategic goals have been translated into several long-term reform undertakings. One of them is the development of the National Qualifications Framework or NQF (TVET qualification levels extend from level 2 to level 6 of the new 10-level NQF), while another is the establishment of national sector skills councils (SSCs) with the support of international donors (GIZ, ILO, EU and EBRD). The authorities have also embarked on building a labour market information system (LMIS) with the purpose of informing strategic decision-making in TVET. However, the most important governance-related change is the establishment of the Technical and Vocational Skills Development Commission (TVSD Commission), which will replace the ETVET Council. The TVSD Commission will have its own council headed by the Minister for Labour and most of the council's members (8 of 14) will come from the private sector.
All HCD priorities and commitments are clearly dependent on a robust contribution of TVET to an ambitious national agenda for prosperity and economic advancement, and they are all based on an expectation that TVET can become a relevant, accessible and responsive segment of the country's skills development system. However, a number of challenges remain. Some are inherent to the TVET system, while others are external socio-demographic or political factors that bring considerable pressure to bear on the adjustment and modernisation of approaches to human capital development in Jordan, particularly in relation to TVET.