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Jordan Education Facts


Since the 1960s, when two thirds of the population could not read and write, illiteracy has decreased dramatically. Now virtually all younger Jordanians are literate. There are still problems, especially in rural areas, such as a lack of competent teachers and overcrowded classrooms. Many students are refugees.

The UN organization Unesco noted in 2018 that almost 100 percent of Jordanians over the age of 15 could read and write, as high a proportion of girls as boys. Traces of another era could be seen in the age group over 65, with illiteracy amounting to 10 percent.

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The 10-year compulsory school is compulsory. Students start school at the age of six. All children are offered a place in the public school, which is free of charge, but many children also attend private schools. The UN agency for the Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, organizes schooling in the Palestinian refugee camps. Jordan has also received support from the UN Children’s Fund Unicef ​​so that the many refugee children from Iraq and Syria can attend school.

After compulsory school, most pupils continue to a voluntary two-year post-secondary education, corresponding to the upper secondary school, also free of charge in the public schools for Jordanian citizens. There they can choose between preparatory studies for further vocational education or for university studies.

About a quarter of students study at one of the private universities, according to an EU report 2017.

The teachers’ union has to a large extent had to rely on extra necks because wages are low. Low wages in an Arab society can result in the postponement of marriage, as income is not enough to support a family. In 2019, 87,000 teachers went on strike with demands for a 50 percent pay raise. When the strike ended after a month, they had been promised a 35 percent increase. 1.5 million students in 4,000 state schools became teacherless during the strike.

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Proportion of children starting primary school

92.4 percent (2004)

Number of pupils per teacher in primary school

21 (2017)

Reading and writing skills

97.9 percent (2012)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP

11.7 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget

11.7 percent (2017)



Deadly attack on police officers

December 18

Ten people lose their lives when armed men attack a police station in the city of Karak in southern Jordan. Seven police officers and three passers-by were shot dead. In Karak there is a well-known castle from the Crusader era and one of those killed is a female tourist from Canada. From Karak also came the Jordanian pilot who participated in the raids against IS but crashed, captured and burned alive in January 2015. Some of the assailants forge themselves in the bail. Four of them are shot dead in a firefight


US soldiers killed

November 4th

Three US soldiers are killed when gunfire erupts at a military base in the southern part of the country. According to the Jordanian Army, the Americans were shot at when they failed to obey the gatekeeper’s orders and stopped at the entrance to the base. The Americans should have shot back. A Jordanian soldier was also wounded.


Refugee aid green light

October 10

Jordan announces that the country will once again allow aid shipments to the refugees who are stuck on the other side of the border with Syria. However, the border will continue to be closed as a way to keep terrorists away from Jordan. Around 70,000 refugees from Syria are estimated to live in difficult conditions in the desert near the Jordan border.


Murdered for a satire

September 25

Christian author Nahed Hattar is shot to death while on his way to a trial where he is charged with publishing an anti-Islamic joke on Facebook. The murder causes his clan to conduct hostile demonstrations demanding the resignation of the government. Hatter’s relatives claim that the government knew there was a threat to the author but did nothing to protect him. The perpetrator, a 49-year-old computer engineer employed by the Ministry of Education, is arrested and sentenced to death in December.

New government

September 25

King Abdullah commissioned Hani Mulki to form a new government. A few days later, the new government is approved by Parliament. No changes have been made to the most important ministerial posts.

IAF back in Parliament

September 22

The Islamist group receives 16 of the 130 seats, according to the Election Commission. The majority of the other mandates go to loyal candidates.

Elections to Parliament

September 20

In connection with Election Day, schoolchildren are given two days off and 50,000 police officers are waiting at the polling stations to ensure that everything is calm. As many as 49 parties are in the elections, which after 130 amendments to the electoral law (see March) applies. The IAF is part of a “reform” coalition with other candidates, including women and Christians who have their own quota (see Political system).


Car bombs require life

21 June

Seven soldiers are killed when a suicide bomber detonates his charge outside a refugee camp near the border with Syria. The Islamic State takes on the deed and Jordan responds by closing the entire border in the desert against Iraq and Syria. Thus, it will be impossible for international aid organizations to reach through Jordan with supplies for refugees at the border.

Selection date is announced

June 9

The authorities announce that parliamentary elections will be held on September 20. Muslim Brotherhood Political Branch, Islamic Action Front (IAF), which is the country’s most important party, announces after some doubt that the party will participate. The IAF boycotted the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Shot drama in refugee camps

6th June

An armed man shoots at a refugee camp six men working for the country’s intelligence service.


New government

May 29th

Parliament is disbanded and the country gets a new government to prepare for parliamentary elections by October. New head of government will be Hani Mulki, who has held several ministerial posts and served as the country’s ambassador to Egypt. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Finance remains in office.

Imprisoned minister is released

May 17

The Muslim minister who was sentenced to prison in December 2015 for “inciting hatred of the regime” gets his sentence cut short and released.


The king gains more power on the paper

April 27

Parliament, by a large majority, adopts an addition to the Constitution which allows King Abdullah to appoint his successor, the head of the country’s judiciary and the chairman of the Constitutional Court on his own. In addition, the king gets the last word on the establishment of posts in the army, the intelligence service and the National Guard. The fundamental change does not change much in the matter. In the past, although Parliament would approve these appointments, it was very uncommon for Parliament to oppose the King’s wishes.

More refugees at the border

April 18

The authorities announce that the number of Syrian refugees trapped along the border has now tripled. Around 50,000 are reported to be in no man’s land waiting to enter Jordan (see also January 2016).

Brotherhood under pressure

April 8

Authorities close Muslim Brotherhood offices in several cities in the country. The relationship between the Brotherhood and the authorities has become increasingly rigid since the so-called Arab Spring 2011. The authorities now regard the Brotherhood as an illegal organization, but its political branch of the Islamic Action Front (IAF) can still operate.


New electoral law is adopted

the 13th of March

The king signs the law which means that the system of majority voting in one-man constituencies introduced from the 1993 elections is abolished. The number of seats in the parliament is reduced from 150 to 130, of which 115 are proportionally elected in general elections and 15 are occupied by women representing the different parts of the country..


“Rupture limit reached”

February 2

King Abdullah said in an interview with the British news service BBC that the refugee reception is close to the border and that his country will not be able to receive more Syrians unless Europe pushes for more money. According to the king, a quarter of the state budget is spent on providing for the refugees and the situation puts great pressure on the country’s welfare institutions and the school system. Competition in the labor market is also increasing. A few days before the start of an international conference in London, the King is announcing the purpose of raising more money to support Syrians both inside and outside the country.


Worried at the border

January 23

The army announces that 12 people who tried to cross the border from Syria were killed in a firefight. In connection with the battle, large quantities of drugs should have been seized. Jordan is closely monitoring the border with Syria for fear of Islamist extremists entering the country. The refugees who want to enter the country are subject to strict scrutiny. Jordan lets in only a handful a day, which has resulted in tens of thousands of refugees stranded waiting at the border. At present, 16,000 Syrian refugees are estimated to be there.

Israeli fence against terror

January 20th

Israel begins to build a three-mile-long fence along part of the border with Jordan. The idea is that the fence will keep refugees and terrorists away.

Jordan Best Colleges and Universities