Building Economic Sustainability through Tourism Project

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts develops into a university college

22 Mar 2020

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) has officially become a technical university college and can now award bachelor’s degrees, technical diplomas and certificates in its specialized area of culinary arts and food and beverage management. RACA was previously a technical college that awarded diplomas through Al Balqa University. USAID BEST supported the academy to prepare for and apply for its advancement into a university college, which was officially approved by the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Head of the Higher Education Council on March 15, 2020.

“RACA believes in being an active part of Jordan’s leadership’s vision in inducing entrepreneurship, job creation, women empowerment and capacity building,” said RACA Director Chef Jacques Rossel, highlighting that “the support of USAID BEST over the years has been a tremendous assistance for the academy to grow and become more relevant to what the hospitality industry in Jordan needs.”

This new status places RACA on the global map of leading culinary universities and adds culinary arts professions to the portfolio of careers available to Jordanian students. Now, students in Jordan can progress to tertiary level education in culinary studies. Through USAID BEST support, RACA upgraded its registration, student tracking and library management systems and developed internship and career planning manuals. The internship manual will help students, faculty, and internship partners navigate their roles within the academy’s internship program, while the career planning guide outlines important information such as how to prepare for interviews, networking, and conduct self-assessments. The new manuals are a step in formalizing the academy’s internship program.      

Through past USAID support, RACA was awarded the United Nations World Tourism Organization Themis TedQual international academic certification twice. Recently, BEST supported RACA in the process of attaining a King Abdullah II Center for Excellence (KACE) – ‘EFQM Committed to Excellence’ award, the results of which will be published soon. All this support contributed to the upgrade of RACA from a college institution to a Technical University College status with designated degree, diploma and certificate awarding authority.

“Through its various activities at RACA,” added Chef Jacques “USAID BEST has shown how committed they are to help young Jordanians not only receive a quality education in hospitality, but also to start a career. RACA is grateful to USAID BEST for their support over the past years in helping the Academy to reach the level we are in now.”

RACA’s reforms come at a time where a lack of skilled and trained labor in the hospitality sector has left a need for thousands of additional graduates from local hospitality schools. Since its establishment in 2008, RACA has graduated 565 students and recorded a 90% employment rate. Given the academy’s status as a leading culinary institution in the region and its mission to provide Jordan’s hospitality industry with the best possible culinary graduates, RACA is well equipped to minimize the need to hire expatriates through an expansion of their institution.