Interview with Eng. Faisal M. Al-Ghathia, Dean of Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II Academy for Civil Protection
Q. The Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II Academy for Civil Protection started its activities in October 2009.This is the first academy, not only in Jordan but all over the Middle East and North Africa, to offer bachelor degrees in three majors: Fire Safety Engineering, Disaster Management and Paramedics. Can you tell us more about the objectives of the Academy?
A. The Academy aims, first of all, to offer specialised academic curricula in disaster risk mitigation and management which were not yet available either in Jordan or in the Arab region. Societies are rapidly changing in the Middle Eastern and North African countries and the demand of civil protection services is growing more and more. In order to respond to such demand the National Civil Protection Authorities need better trained and qualified personnel.
The Academy aims at reinforcing the civil protection culture in the Arab countries and boost scientific research initiatives and programmes related to civil protection. The objective is also to strengthen linkages and increase the exchange of information and experiences between the national bodies in charge of disaster preparedness and prevention and the scientific community is another important objective of the Academy.
Q. Can you briefly provide us with more information about the Academy programmes?
A. The three programmes offered by the Academy are organised in two stages. A first common stage covers general courses on Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Computer Science and advanced electrical and mechanical engineering courses. The second stage includes specialised courses which differ among the three programmes.
The specialised courses of the programme on Fire Safety Engineering cover, for example, construction codes, safety legislation, fire risk management and fire management systems and techniques. The programme on Disaster Management offers specialised courses on, among others, disaster risk assessment, risk mitigation and vulnerability management, early warning systems, public awareness, emergency management and post disaster reconstruction. The Paramedics programme encompasses specialised courses on anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology as well as on the management of all medical emergencies and trauma.
Q.Does the Academy provide, apart from academic teachings, training on the field?
A. Training in the field is the backbone component of the programmes of the Academy. The Academy owns highly specialised training equipment for the simulation of different disasters scenarios – such as flammable liquid fires, chemical leakages, fire in buildings, fire in planes, road accidents and building collapse - and the organisation of practical search and rescue and emergency management exercises.
Q. It seems that the objective of the Amman-based Academy – which can host up to 2,000 students - is to become an international centre specialized in Civil Protection and Civil Defence sciences. Are the courses conducted also in English besides Arabic? And is it open only to military or to everybody?
A. The courses of the Academy are targeted to anybody interested in Civil Protection studies and training, either civilians or military. The registration to the academic courses is open to all nationalities and the training programmes are offered in three languages: Arabic, English and French.
Q. At the end of the courses, the students that do not intend to enter the Civil Defence, in what sectors of life can they find a job?
A. Graduate students from the Academy may find a lot of job opportunities within or outside the National Civil Protection Authorities. They can work in most sectors of the National Civil Protection, from the search and rescue teams to the prevention or the awareness raising department. They can work in international organisations such as the IFRC, the UNDP, the UNDAC, or in national or international NGOs involved in disaster risk management. They can also work as safety managers in private and public companies such as hospitals, hotels, factories, universities. Or work in the risk management office of engineering companies as well as in the public security or in the health services. I would dare to say that the demand of well qualified professionals by the safety and civil protection sectors is constantly increasing nowadays.
Q.If someone wants to apply, what is the procedure and how much does it cost to follow the Academy courses?
A. Candidate students may apply by filling the registration form available on the Academy web site and annexing the required documentation. After, students fulfilling the admission requirements will be invited to complete the registration procedure. The admission requirements to the fire safety engineering course include previous scientific or industrial studies, while the Paramedics course requires scientific, nursing or general health backgrounds and the disaster management course requires scientific, legal, commercial, health or IT backgrounds.
The tuition fee varies between 40 Jordan Dinars per credited hour for Jordanian students attending the Disaster Management course to 150 USD per credited hour for non-Jordanian students attending the Paramedics or the Fire safety engineering course. Available financial support opportunities are published on the Academy web portal.
Q.This was the first year of life for the Academy. Are you conducting an information and visibility campaign so as to help the institution to be known internationally?
A.Our visibility plan is based on a series of lectures done in schools all around Jordan. We have published brochures in English and Arabic which are being distributed in the country and abroad. At the beginning of the academic year we send announcements to national and local newspapers and we have set up a web site that introduces the interested students to all aspects of our institution. You can visit the web site at the address: www.pha.edu.jo