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Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Obeidat Al Khawarizmi International College Al Ain - Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates m.obeidat@khawarizmi.com. The Jordanian Higher Education institutions: Governance, Accreditation and Ethics.

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Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Obeidat

Al Khawarizmi International College

Al Ain- Abu Dhabi

United Arab Emirates

m.obeidat@khawarizmi.com

The Jordanian Higher Education institutions:Governance, Accreditation and Ethics

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Today, most universities of Arab countries focus on revenues rather than quality of outputs, especially the private among them. Jordan authorities allowed many higher education institutions to work on its land, but it has the right to direct and overseas these institutions.

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Higher education industry in different countries provides local and external societies with professional specialized work force. Therefore, the development in different aspect of a particular society depends on the quality of outputs of the higher education institutions in that country. The recent and fast growth and expansion of higher education institutions in Jordan and other Arab countries increases the importance of the study, because wherever we find high growth, we need more hard regulations and supervision over that industry. The study highlights the need for more regulated higher education industry in Jordan.

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The objectives of the study are as follows:

  • Enrich the literature of corporate governance, patterns of ethics in higher education institutions, and academic accreditation.
  • Highlight the regulations governs the Jordanian board of trustees' formulation and its duties.
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Investigate whether the academic councils of Jordanian higher education institutions follow the regulations of governance issued by the governmental agencies.

  • Identify whether Jordanian higher education institutions give enough attention to the patterns of ethics that students and employees of these organizations should follow.
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Identify whether the Jordanian higher education institutions apply the regulations of academic accreditation the Jordanian agencies issue.

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Corporate governance appeared next to scandals of several large business firms in US and other Western countries. Audit firms contributed in the occurrence of these scandals, when these firms issued unqualified audit reports regarding the financial statements of these failed corporations.

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Corporate governance is a more and recently developed method to manage business organizations in an ethical, objective, transparent, and fair manner. Through the adoption of corporate governance, several aspects of management can be enhanced. The decision making process can be improved through the adoption of corporate governance principles.

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Interests of stockholders, investors, employees, suppliers can be carried out in more objective form. Moreover, when adopting corporate governance, business organizations can protect its financial resource and use it in a way that more rate of return can be achieved.

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Corporate governance refers to the quality, transparency, and dependability of the relationships between the shareholders, board of directors, management, and employees that define the authority and the responsibility of each in delivering sustainable value to all stakeholders.

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The definitions of corporate governance fall into two categories: The first category of these definitions is associated with the patterns of behavior, in corporations, in terms of measures of performance, efficiency, growth, financial structure, and the relation with stockholders and other groups of stakeholders. The second category of corporate governance is associated with normative framework, including the rules under which corporations are operating, such as the legal system, judicial system, labor markets, and financial markets.

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Under its narrow definition, corporate governance is defined as "Corporate governance deals with the ways in which suppliers of finance to corporations assure themselves of getting a return on their investment" (Shleifer, 1986) . In opposite, in its broader view, corporate governance is "The complex set of constraints that shape the ex post bargaining over the quasi rents generated by the firm". (Zingales, 1988)

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Principles of corporate governance include:

  • The board of directors is responsible for the selection of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and to oversee he/she performs his/her day to day duties.
  • The management is responsible for operating the corporation in an effective and ethical manner under the oversight of the board of directors.
  • The management is responsible for the development and implementation the firm’s strategy under the supervision of the board of directors.
  • The management is responsible to produce annual financial statements and other disclosures under the oversight of the board and audit committee.
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The board of directors, through the audit committee is responsible for the selection of external auditor.

  • The board of directors is required to play a leadership role in forming the corporate governance of the corporation and the way of the board composition.
  • The board of directors, through its compensation committee is responsible for the adoption and oversight the implementation of compensation policies.
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Both the board and the management are involved with maintaining close and transparent relationship with long-term shareholders.

  • The corporation is responsible to deal with employees, customers, suppliers, and other constituencies in a fair and equitable manner to exemplify the highest possible level of citizenship.
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Corporate governance of higher education institutions includes several issues including the power of the board, selection of the chair and members of the board, president appointment, and the search for good governance. The board is the highest authority in higher education institutions.

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Based on the author's knowledge, there is no written code of ethics for university employees and students. Some ethical regulations are available in an individual form in some universities, and some other may be available in downward communications from management to lower levels. In 2006, the Ministry of Public Sector of Jordan developed a code of conduct for the Jordanian public sector, and the Council of Ministers approved that code. The code is general and can be applied in all offices and officials.

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Study Hypotheses

Ho1: The boards of trustees of Jordanian Higher Education institutions do not follow the governance regulations of the Jordanian Government.

Ho2: Academic Councils of Jordanian higher education institutions do not perform its duties based on the governance regulations of the Jordanian government.

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Ho3: The higher education institutions of Jordan do not give enough attention to the correct and reasonable of its students, academics, and administrative staff's patterns of behavior.

Ho4: The higher education institutions of Jordan do not apply the regulations of Academic Accreditation Council of Jordan.

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Research Methodology

Study population: All Jordanian Higher Education Institutions.

Unit of Analysis: Individual employees in Jordanian HEI.

Sample Size: 120 individuals

Sampling method: The convenient sampling method

Study Instrument: A questionnaire consisting of 49 items and covers the topics of governance, ethics, and academic accreditation. A Cronbach's Alpha for the instrument as a whole equals 79.3%.

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Statistical Methods of Analysis:

* Descriptive statistics such as frequencies, mean, and standard deviation.

* One sample t-test had used in data analysis and hypotheses testing under 95% level of confidence.

Study Limitations:

- Time limitations.

- Some ethical behaviors are difficult to be known.

- No code of ethical behavior is available.

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The problem of this study is well presented through the following question. Will the adoption of corporate governance of higher education institutions improve the work to these institutions in a way that more focus will be given to the quality of outputs than revenues? Actually, this is the most critical problem that encounters the higher education industries, not only in Jordan, but in most Arab countries.

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The main conclusion of the study is that the Jordanian higher education institutions adopt the principles of governance regarding the formulation of board of trustees, academic councils, ethics, and academic accreditation. More details regarding the findings of the study are mentioned below.

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Jordanian higher education institutions apply the regulations of governance on its boards of trustees. These boards select the heads or CEO of these institutions, and exercise a kind of oversight on the operations and activities of its institutions.

  • Academic councils of Higher Education Institutions, that include Dean Councils, College Councils, and Department Councils follow the regulations of governance, where each council has its identified authorities and responsibilities.
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Higher education institutions of Jordan follow the regulations of governance regarding the ethical behavior of students, administrative, and academic staff.

  • Jordanian Higher Education Institutions apply the regulations of academic accreditation, and follow any new regulations issued by the Accreditation Council.
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Thanks for your attendance and listening

  • Your comments are highly appreciated
  • Thanks for USEK, and for all of those responsible for the preparation and organization for the conference