How I Propose We Pay For Public Education In Jordan

I was reading Tololy’s post on the government’s decision to tax cell phone users 1JD to go towards public universities. And while to a single consumer this may not seem like much to part with, it does add up and the question that emerges is obvious: why? Why should we continue to be taxed on the things we already pay yearly taxes on. This is pertinent question, and not as many have complained about, them not having to pay for things they don’t use, consume or benefit from directly; because that’s not how a country works obviously.

This policy will raise around 4 million JDs. Of course we should keep in mind, what I imagine to be, the sizable chunk that the telecommunication companies received via this initiative.

So I have a better policy suggestion for our government and it is one that is so simple and avoids having to anger millions of cell phone users in the country in addition to having the ability to generate more than 4 million JDs.

Simply reallocate the funding for the thousands of public sector employees who have the government paying for their children to attend private schools and private universities in Jordan as well as private universities in the US, UK, Canada, Switzerland and France.

The public sector is vast and includes many variances so let me take, say, the Royal Court as an example…

Let’s say there’s about 3,000 employees and at least a third are middle to upper management, this latter group is given around 50% discount on university tuition and first placement, which basically means it doesn’t matter what your kid got in tawjihi, they will be put at the front of the line when it comes time to register for programs.

Factor in the upper management which is a smaller number, whose kids go to universities for free. In other words, even if they are accepted at the worst university in the UK (getting in with a 60% average) they are given a full scholarship covering all their expenses.

We should remove the number of employees who don’t have kids. The lower employees have their incomes assessed individually and given a fraction in the form of tuition. Many, if not most, of these employees make around 500JDs on average.

We should also factor in the variances of tuitions; some are way more than others, some are less.

So the number that I came up with was about 2,000 JDs per employee (cetris paribus) at 3,000 employees in a small corner of the public sector.

That’s about 6 Million JDs.

I use this as a basic example of available funding. If there was a study it would obviously be a whole lot more accurate but it would also include various employees who have such perks availble to them in the public sector as a whole: the royal court is merely a fraction of that.

There are of course many many other elements to factor in.

For example: we could include the money lost from a failing student who through first placement takes a seat and a scholarship away from a brilliant poor student (very common); thus measuring the financial loses of that investment: the former producing nothing at all, and the potential of the latter being discarded.

And so on and so forth. There’s that domino effect that needs to be considered.

Suffice to say that if this were the public policy then many benefits would emerge:

1) Poor/brilliant students would be able to get scholarships from the government and would be inclined to give back to their country thus improving it in an infinite variety of ways.

2) A realignment of the classroom where the right students get in to the right program without being rejected because someone whose father works in the public sector had first dibs on a seat.

3) Offers the ability to raise more funds.

4) Spares the government the wrath of millions of cell phone users.

5) Spares the cell phone companies the wrath of millions of cell phone users, many of whom undoubtedly called to complain thus wasting more time, energy and money to address the situation.

And of course there are many other benefits.

The way I see it, before the government goes out to take the money from off the street, they should check their own pockets and dig under their own mattresses and couches.

If a viable source of funding can’t be found there in the first place, then I as a citizen have no problem supporting public education in Jordan.

I just want to know that my taxes are supporting the right students.


  • Honest question:In the title?Did you mean How I Propose?or can we use Purpose this way?And by the way..interesting proposal..I did not know this much was being spent this way..

  • Couldn’t agree more…

    I have several points about my 1JD being taken WITHOUT MY PERMISSION, so to keep them digestible, here are bullets:

    The principal:

    • I already paid 2.5 JDs in tax on my pre-pay card.

    • Taking money without consent or clear precedent is STEALING.

    • If I want to give to charity, I WILL DECIDE where it goes.

    • Indirect taxation is, in any case, immoral; everyone paid THE SAME 1JD regardless of their ability to pay. So everyone who owns a phone in Jordan will have paid this tax, whether they earn 1,000 JDs a day as a construction site contractor, or 2JDs a day making coffee for the Egyptians they exploit. That is appallingly unfair on the majority at the lower end of the economic spectrum.

    • If public services need to be paid for – and this tax is a clear admission that this is the case – then INCREASE INCOME TAX and impose CAPITAL GAINS TAX. These are the ONLY taxes based on ABILITY TO PAY.

    • Why are universities so special? How about putting glass in every school window? Heating in every classroom?

    This move is yet another example of the top-down, elitist thinking that permeates much of contemporary public policy here – taxes that steal more from the poor, protect the rich and don’t address a single long-term problem.

  • It is so sad the common case when a brilliant/poor student loses his chance because his family can’t afford the increasing uni tuitions when you see others who got a first placement changing major after the first semester. The government has come up with many plans to help this sector of poor students but it helps only a small portion and the help is really small compared to the expenses those families pay it covers a semester or two, three at max!

    If the government wants to support its employees’ sons in getting education it is fine but my take is that they shouldn’t interfere with the unified admission system it is not fare.

    At the end the government will do whatever it wants and the people will complain about any thing, but none of them will listen to the other.

  • Nas,
    Corruption in jordan is like cancer, and it is unbelievable how much injustice we have, I just don’t know!!We are exactly like sheep and cows in a barn-which means two things for the government:
    1- We are low lifes and stupid.
    2- We need to be milked inorder for them to divert our attention from the real issues, and each time the people start to smell extra money the bitch slap will be on the way by the big pimps!!
    Yalla alla b3een!!

  • I say no taxes at all,Education must be free for all people’we are sick and tired of the corrupt and inept government’it’s no longer can serve and provide for it’s people,
    Taxation without representation is out right crime,they want to tax us but they don’t want us to participate in the decision making processes.
    I have an easy and right solution for the lack of funds for our run down Schools
    First,All government employees must pay for travel expenses including the king and his family,eash trip the king and his family make is paid by the Treasury’s trip to the US an d other Capitals cost the tax Bayer millions of dollars and that’s without hotel accommodation.
    Second,All royal family members and I mean ALL, must get off government hefty salaries,we no longer can afford their tax free salaries anymore,and that will translate in saving million of dollars,
    Third,all Multinational corporation that bought public sectors almost for free must pay some percentage on their business in Jordan and that will also bring in huge funds to help education.
    Third,,seek for compensation from US,for the impact of the war on Jordan, Iraq,this on going war of “”liberation”” has put tremendous pressure on the infestructure of Jordan and that include schools,roads ,hospitals and water shortage.
    Fourth,,stop the presese of privitasation,because if we stay on this dangerous path,soon enough they will say education must become privatised and you people will have to take the brunt of it all.

  • couldn’t read past the first paragraph but will do so tomorrow. ALl i want to say for the moment is that it’s not only on cell phones, my mom went to pay the phone bill today and they added that one day on the landline too!

  • orrrrrr the police could simply go out enforcing traffic laws and definitely make more than $4 million just by ticketing all the idiots who can’t operate a vehicle properly.

  • I’m a little hesitant to call this corruption. It is technically a perk of being a public sector employee (depending on your position) and so it’s something that’s open to many many people. In other words this is not an under-the-table shady type of deal.

    As for the royal family, their numbers are insignificant to the public sectors that benefit from this “perk” alone. I would however recognizing the need to restrict that to specific royal family members who travel for government business, that’s something that’s available to all heads of state regardless.

    As for removing all taxes, suffice to say that’s not how a country works at all.

    As for traffic tickets; I completely agree. There are many many sources of revenue that the government can go to first before looking at the tax payer.

    The problem with that is that in Jordan it is easier for the government to take the easy way out and tax its citizens instead of conservation, fines, reallocation, etc. Because the latter would simply mean a lot of work and a lot of efficiency; two things the government is not always interested in.

    Going home at 2pm is more important at this point in time.

  • As much as I agree with the concluded sentiment, I was a tad worried with how you took assumptions about figures and mechanisms as a factual basis for your conclusion. Very unlike you I might add. A few more years back in Jordan and you will be a fully fledgling conspiracy theorist 😉

    As a side but related note, the biggest burden nationally from a free education prospective is Markoma, and I do not think there is much wrong with that in principle but I would much prefer if the entitlement became means tested as well, that is to say above an a given average income per dependent you will loose (or maybe reduce) your entitlement to it.

  • Nidal: “I was a tad worried with how you took assumptions about figures and mechanisms as a factual basis for your conclusion.”

    you have to read more between the lines than the actual lines themselves.

    p.s. those numbers may not be as assumptive as you think 😉

  • As far as I know, the cost in governmental and private universities is almost the same, which is of course very high, so I don’t believe that our dear universities need 4 million JD’s a year!

    I would raise my hand for corruption.

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