Jordan has been distinctly marked in the region by the establishment of scientific institutions. It witnessed the establishment of universities and institutes half a century ago built on advanced scientific ground, despite the scarcity of resources, national burdens and the modest capabilities. Planners of education have succeeded in developing the essential guidelines of the higher education through the report of the Committee of Educational Policy in Jordan, issued in 1986, which included that the educational policy in the Kingdom is based on number of principles derived from our Islamic and national heritage; objectives of the Great Arab Revolution; the Constitution of the country and the national experience with its political, economic and social dimensions.
Higher education in Jordan is not unique in nature or problems and issues; it's like any stage of education and its sectors (basic education, secondary education, vocational education). That is, it witnesses in every day and every step forward, problems of a new type. And although this implicitly includes variation on themes related to variation on the degree of progress, according to the differences in the special conditions surrounding every progress achieved, it does not exclude sharing of many issues across the world; conferences; forums; international gatherings and exchange of ideas and literature. The thing which justifies the work of international organizations, associations and professional unions in this direction. In Jordan, post-secondary education was inavailable until 1951 where secondary school graduates were going outside the country for studying. The number of Jordanian students who were studying at the Arab universities outside Jordan in 1948 was (223) students.
The first step in the establishment of higher education institutions in Jordan was following to the unity of the two Banks in 1951; and began by opening a class for teachers training in Al-Hussein Faculty in Amman. Then, in the same year, the Ministry of Education had established an institute for female teachers in the city of Ramallah in the West Bank.
The number of teacher training institutes for both (males & females) that were established until 1962, at the time of establishing the first university in Jordan (University of Jordan), was a total of (11), three of which are for females and eight for males.
In 1980, the institutes of male and female teachers have been converted to community colleges, and the task of these colleges was to train technicians needed in various business sectors through executing two years programs after the General Secondary Education Certificate. The training aims to train technicians in the fields of educational, engineering, commercial, medical assistance, agricultural and social careers. This is in addition to the ongoing education programs aim to meet the requirements of the economic and social development plans for a trained technical staff.Community colleges has been developed rapidly in terms of numbers until they reached (52) college in 1985 spread all over the various parts of the Kingdom, however, the number decreased after the establishment of private universities.
Due to the keenness of the Hashemite leadership and its belief in the need of providing higher education opportunities for Jordanians, the University of Jordan has been established in 1962, in Amman, followed by the establishment of Yarmouk University in 1976,, Mu'tah University in 1981, Jordan University of Science and Technology in 1986, the University of Al al-Bayt in 1994, the Hashemite University in 1995, Al Balqa Applied University in 1997, which took responsibility for the re-organization of community colleges and the activation of their programs in addition to being an official university granting the bachelor degree, as its sisters state universities.
In addition to this, colleges of four years of study have been established (Amman University College of Engineering & Technology, 1989 and College of Da'wa and Fundamentals of Religion 1990). Also, in 1999, Hussein Bin Talal University was established in Ma'an, in southern part of Jordan.
Jordan has been characterized from other countries in the world as it allows the private sector to establish community colleges owned and operated by private entities that aim to make profit.
The first private community college was established in 1967, and then the establishment of private colleges was accelerated to reach a total of (22) collegein 1990.
The year 1990 is regarded as a turning point in the development of higher education in Jordan, where the license for establishing a private university (Amman Private University) was granted for the first time, which began its work in the academic year 90/91, and then the establishment of private universities was accelerated to reach a total of (12) university with about (31000) students for the year 96/97. In addition to that, preliminary license was recently granted (November 1997) for establishing other seven non-profit private universities.