Jordan has made great strides in reducing illiteracy, the rate of which declined from 68% in 1961 to 13.5% in 1995. Adult illiteracy rates for the year 2000 were estimated at 10.2% (males, 5.1%; females, 15.6%). Education is compulsory between the ages of 6–15. Ten years are devoted to primary education, followed by two years at the secondary stage. In 1998, Jordan had 2,623 primary schools with 45,367 teachers and 1,121,866 pupils. Secondary schools had a total of 155,008 pupils, with 9,300 teachers, in the same year. As of 1999, 94% of primary-school-age children were enrolled in school, while 76% of those eligible attended secondary school. The United National Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) operates 208 schools in refugee camps. As of 1999, public expenditure on education was estimated at 6.3% of GDP.
Jordan has five universities: the University of Jordan (founded in 1962), at 'Amman; Yarmuk University at Irbid; Mut'ah University, in Karak governorate in southern Jordan; the University of Jordan for Science and Technology; and the Zaqa University established in 1993. In addition there are 53 community colleges; two of these are UNRWA schools on the East Bank for Palestinian students. In 1997, 112,959 students were enrolled at all higher-level institutions while higher education teaching staff numbered 5,275.