Three Jordanian universities are among the top 28 academic institutions in the Arab world, according to Times Higher Education's ranking for 2017. The findings were published last week in the Times Higher Education's 2017 Arab world university ranking of members of the Arab League, in which three Saudi universities dominated the top three spots.
The three Jordanian universities featured in the rankings are the Jordan University of Science and Technology (8), the University of Jordan (19) and the Hashemite University (23).
In the region, eight Egyptian universities featured in the table, four Saudi institutions which are all ranked in the top 10, while Jordan, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates each have three universities in the rankings.
Higher Education Minister Adel Tweisi commended the ranking results, saying that "it is proof that Jordanian universities are working hard to advance in ranking and education performance.'
The former minister said that the unemployment rate in Jordan is around 30 percent 'and there is a clear gap between what the labour market needs and the type of majors the graduate students hold when they graduate'.
'The rankings of Jordanian universities to me will remain artificial until the Jordanian universities focus on the market's needs to minimise the rate of unemployment,' Khadra stressed.
Jordanian education experts said earlier this year that improving the ranking of Jordanian universities in international rankings requires promoting a culture of applied scientific research at higher education institutions.
Commenting on the performance of Jordanian universities in scientific research, officials and experts have said that the majority of research conducted is theoretical, highlighting the need for applied research that helps achieve development and address issues of national priority.
The experts' comments were made following the disappointing results of a 2016 Shanghai ranking of 500 universities worldwide, which did not include a single Jordanian university.
Others attributed the poor ranking of Jordanian universities in these indexes as the result of failures to address several challenges facing scientific research, including insufficient human resources and funds, as well as legislative impediments.
This is an edited version of an article that has appeared in the Jordan Times. The article was written by Rana Husseini.