Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Jordan Launches ‘Back-to-School’ Campaign for 90,000 Young Refugees | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Young Syrian refugees attend a UNICEF-run school at al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq. Khalil Mazraawi (AFP/File)

Amman-Jordan’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Mohammad Thneibat announced on Tuesday the launching of Back-to-School Campaign within an initiative to provide quality education services to young refugees alongside Jordanian students.

Speaking during a ceremony organized by the education ministry, in cooperation with the United Nations’ Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Thneibat said that the ministry has picked 102 public schools to run a two-shift system at an estimated cost of JD300 million annually to accommodate refugee students in the evening shifts.

In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, education ministry’s spokesperson Walid Al-Jallad said that with the launching of the new campaign, the number of Jordanian schools running a two-shift system has reached 200.

He added that around 145,000 Syrian students were currently enrolled in public schools, noting that the ministry was trying to offer education to around 90,000 Syrian refugees within the new initiative.

Human Rights Watch has urged Jordan to ease access to education for thousands of un-schooled Syrian refugee children ahead of the new academic year starting in September.

In a 97-page report entitled: “We’re Afraid For Their Future”, the rights organization said a series of obstacles were preventing Syrian children from going to school.

HRW estimated that “tens of thousands” of Syrians were ineligible for the cards due to lack of paperwork or failing to meet stringent criteria.

Jordan says it is hosting nearly 1.4 million refugees, of whom 630,000 are registered with the United Nations.

HRW praised Jordan’s “generous efforts” to enroll Syrians in its public schools, which were already struggling with capacity and quality issues before the influx of refugees.