Bright young Jordanian defies expectations with support from Korea and UNESCO

04 - Quality Education
05 - Gender Equality

Abdullah Abu Alhawa, 20, is a clever young man who grew up in Amman, Jordan. Today he is living a life that even two years ago, would have been difficult for him to envision.

When Abdullah did not succeed at passing his high-school accreditation exams (“Tawjihi”) he wasn’t sure what the future would hold. “In Jordan, if you don’t succeed at Tawjihi, many doors close and some people don’t end up doing anything productive with their lives. One day, I was watching TV and I saw an advertisement for scholarships being offered at Luminus Technical University College (Al Quds College). My dad said ‘Why don’t you apply and see what happens?’”.

Abdullah applied for the BTEC Level 2 Electrical/Mechanical Engineering Programme, one of six technical and vocational education and training (TVET) disciplines offered as scholarships to Syrian and Jordanian students with generous funding from the Government of the Republic of Korea. Abdullah’s application was accepted and he began his studies in February 2018. Under this UNESCO-led TVET project, his scholarship was one of 250 scholarships offered in 2018.

When I began, I didn’t think the program would help me that much, but I tried my best in any case. By the end, I felt ready to apply for a real job. I am so grateful for this opportunity, despite not having my tawjihi


Abdullah proved himself a very active student, displaying a lot of initiative. “He was my assistant in the practical classes and was so enthusiastic to complete his tasks and start helping others. I believe in his success in the near future”, revealed his former teacher, engineer Arwa Daraghmeh.

When his formal training concluded, Abdullah moved on to complete his practical on-the-job training at two food industry factories in Amman. Abdullah began to apply to positions abroad and was soon offered a job as a maintenance technician in the Netherlands. In April 2019, he relocated to begin his work in the field of electricity and maintenance at JBT FoodTech in Amsterdam.

Living outside of Jordan without my family can be hard at times. But at work, my colleagues are like my second family. They are teaching me so many things. We are manufacturing food processing machines for export. Since I have an understanding of electricity from the program, I have been able to understand the mechanics of the motors of these machines


Already an adept Arabic and English speaker, Abdullah would like to learn Dutch and strives as well to progress to becoming a manager at work. “I am lucky! I got the chance to prove to everyone that passing tawjihi is not the only way for youth to succeed. I am really proud of the steps I have taken and am now thinking of my next steps”.

His Excellency Lee Jae-wan, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Jordan, feels proud of the TVET scholarships. “We are delighted to see the positive impact of the project, changing the lives of Jordanian youth and Syrian refugees by equipping them with the required skills and competences for the labour market”.  

This critical Korean funded UNESCO project is seeking to ensure access to meaningful, accredited post-basic education for 75 vulnerable Jordanian youth and 175 Syrian refugee youth in Jordan. This year, 228 students are currently enrolled in scholarship programs under this project. The UNESCO Amman office has been taking a leadership role in ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Jordan. Sustainable Development Goal 4 focuses on ensuring inclusive and quality education for all and promoting lifelong learning.