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The New Arab

Jordan eases school enrolment rules for Syrian refugees

Millions of Syrian refugees in the region are of school age [AFP]

Date of publication: 28 September, 2017

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Jordan's Ministry of Education has relaxed requirements for Syrian refugees to attend government schools, a "bold and positive" move welcomed by UNICEF.
Jordan has eased school enrolment rules for Syrian refugee children, officials have announced.

To be able to join formal education in the kingdom, Syrians have to present a special ID card issued by the Interior Ministry indicating their status as refugees.

But Prime Minister Hani al-Mulki has now approved a recommendation to allow children to join state-run schools without the required documents.

Education Minister Omar Razzaz said that the decision is consistent with the government's policy not to leave any children without education "because we do not want anyone to lose their right to education", he told Al Rai and The Jordan Times.

"Education is among a string of services provided to Syrian refugees from the moment they are received on border," the Minister for Media Affairs and government spokesman Mohammad Momani said, renewing a call on the international community to ensure proportionate assistance for Jordan to continue hosting refugees.

Addressing concerns the new cohort would compound the problem of crowding at schools, he said that the newcomers would join afternoon periods in double-shift schools.

Robert Jenkins, the head of UNICEF in Jordan, welcomed the move, telling The Jordan Times: "We would like to congratulate the government of Jordan for this bold and positive step forward towards ensuring that every vulnerable girl and boy in Jordan goes to school. 

"UNICEF stands by the Ministry of Education in doing everything we can for every child to access quality education and get a fair chance in preparing for a better future for themselves and their families."

UNICEF had previously warned the number of Syrian child marriages as a way out of poverty in Jordan was rising, and urged girls to seek an education.

Catch-up education programmes are also being rolled out to reach children who have missed more than three years of schooling, for them to accelerate their learning, and enroll in the formal system, the agency has said in a report.

In Jordan, according to official figures, more than 126,000 Syrian children were receiving education in public schools last year, while 80,000 were out of school, for various reasons, including not having the necessary ID documents.

There is no official estimate of how many children would benefit from the new policy.

According to a report by Save the Children, 35 percent of the 4.8 million Syrian refugees in the region are of school age.

 

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