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General education requirements, the liberal arts and government intervention in higher education: a case from Jordan

Salam Al-Mahadin (Department of English Language and Literature, Middle East University, Amman, Jordan)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 8 December 2022

Issue publication date: 2 February 2023




Heavily regulated higher education institutions may not be able to possess the autonomy to produce students who are both college and career ready. This paper aims to explore the role of the Ministry of Higher Education in Jordan in determining the content and direction of general education requirements, the historical roots of this type of intervention and its possible implications for the future of liberal arts in general education requirements.


The paper is a critical and historical reflection that combines practitioner research perspectives – the author is a university president – with reference to a single case study from a Jordanian university to demonstrate the real-life context of government intervention in general education requirements.


University education is inextricably linked with employability rather than inquiry-based disciplines that produce both intellectual development and technical skills. Jordanian universities, heavily regulated by the government, are required to allocate between 21 and 27 credit hours to general education requirements. Lost between universities that are mandated to have them and policymakers who impose them, general education requirements, as recently reformed, possess neither the ability to produce intellectual skills or career-readiness skills.

Originality Value

This paper highlights the importance of university autonomy in determining its approach to general education requirements to allow students to develop both career-readiness and college-readiness skills.



Al-Mahadin, S. (2023), "General education requirements, the liberal arts and government intervention in higher education: a case from Jordan", On the Horizon, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 71-78.



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