A new report by Human Rights Watch says Jordan should address policies that restrict Syrian refugee children’s access to school to meet ambitious goals of increased enrollment when the 2016-2017 school year begins in September. The 97-page report, “‘We’re Afraid For Their Future’: Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan,” describes Jordan’s generous efforts to enroll Syrian children in its public school system, which was struggling with capacity and quality issues even before refugees began to arrive from Syria.

The Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) developed the Minimum Standards for Education: Preparedness, Response, Recovery (INEE MS) — the only global tool that articulates the minimum level of educational quality and access in emergencies through to recovery. In 2014, the Jordan Education Sector Working Group initiated the contextualization of the INEE Minimum Standards to education in Jordan with the purpose to guide the planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluation of education interventions. Download the toolkit in English and Arabic.



Primary and lower secondary enrolment rates have stayed low or decreased for most of the past decade, but have seen a slight rise in the last few years. Completion rates are high but the dropout rate has remained stable at roughly 4,000 per year.

There are currently 9,661 primary school aged children out of school (1.1%), along with 21,234 lower secondary aged children (4.2%). A further 45,862 pre-primary aged children are also out of school (41%).

At particular risk of being excluded from school are: the children of illegal migrant workers, poor children, child labourers and children with disabilities.



Poverty is the most significant barrier to pre- and primary school. There are often fees for pre-primary school, and although basic education is free, some families still can’t afford transportation, educational supplies or school lunches.

Child labour, which is already at 19% and rising, contributes to school dropout, particularly among children of the poor and unemployed.

Migration can also contribute to long absences from school, low academic performance and eventual dropout. This is particularly visible in the Badia and Ghor regions.

Poor quality education, reinforced by insufficient educational resources, pushes children out of school in most rural regions. Overcrowded classrooms, child absenteeism and lack of teacher accountability are of particular concern. 

Disability is also likely to be a major barrier for school enrolment and participation, although data are limited. Problems include accessibility, poorly trained teachers, poorly adapted curricula, widespread discrimination and ineffective policies.

Education laws are unenforced, including policies on complementary basic education, early childhood development and inclusive education.

After divorce and remarriage, parents sometimes neglect their children or force them to take on responsibilities that would normally be handled by a missing parent.



The Ministry of Education is currently executing some policies aimed at community mobilization and awareness raising, but there is a need to advocate with parents countrywide on the importance of preschool and basic education.

At the same time, collaboration and coordination must be increased between the Ministry and local self-governance bodies, such as mosques and councils. Advocacy via weekly sermons has proven effective at raising awareness of social problems preventing enrolment (including early marriage, school violence and security issues), as well as at promoting service providers who take care of and educate disabled children.

Several government bodies and organisations are currently working on reforms to education policies and the second phase of the National Education Reform Project has started to show results.



  • Increase access and quality for pre-primary education.
  • Start/scale up programmes for non-Jordanian out-of-school children.
  • Support child labourers and poor children.
  • Tackle school dropout.
  • Improve educational access and quality for children with disabilities.
  • Improve national monitoring and reporting systems on out-of-school children and those at risk of dropping out. 



Report (ENG)     Summary (ENG)     Factsheet (ENG)

Report (AR)     Summary (AR)     Factsheet (AR)


Country profiles

Country reports

Stories & News

Out of the frying pan, into the classroom

As she poses for a photograph in the late afternoon light, her blue sunglasses tucked back up on her head, 10-year-old Batul looks like any normal schoolgirl in Jordan. A silver bangle dangles from one wrist and she leans somewhat shyly on one foot as her friends tease her about hamming it up for the camera.

Read more >

A hard burden to bear

What takes most people by surprise is how big it is. Zaatari refugee camp, on the Syrian border in northern Jordan, hosts more than 80,000 people. It’s so big that it takes half an hour to drive across and is now Jordan’s third largest town.

Read more >

“…but Arabic and Math will remain mine”

This story was originally posted by By  Chris Herwig and Abed el Majeed, UNICEF Jordan December 2015 — 16 year old Mesh’al is a Syrian youth from Dar’aa, living in Za’atari Refugee Camp in Jor...

Read more >

In a refugee camp, education is the only hope

This story was originally posted by UNICEF By Kusali Kubwalo For Syrian children living as refugees in Jordan, drop-in centres are helping to provide education and psychosocial support for those who have missed out on learning, including many like ...

Read more >

Conflict drives 13 million children out of school in the Middle East and North Africa

This press release was originally posted by UNICEF MENA DOWNLOAD ENGLISH REPORT AMMAN, 3 September 2015- Surging conflict and political upheaval across the Middle East and North Africa are preventing more than 13 million children from going to...

Read more >

Jordan: Further Expand Education Access for Syrian Refugees

This story was originally posted by Human Rights Watch. At Least 80,000 Syrian Children Out of School (Amman) – Jordan should address policies that restrict Syrian refugee children’s access to school to meet amb...

Read more >

Jordan Commits to provide Education to Every Child

This story was originally posted by UNICEF Jordan. AMMAN, Jordan: The Government of Jordan has reaffirmed its landmark commitment made at the Syrian Conference in London earlier this year, to educate every child in Jordan in the 2016-2017 school yea...

Read more >

Jordan, schools to open doors to all Syrian children

This story was originally posted by Al Arabiya. Intissar Ghozlan’s two youngest boys haven’t been in school since the family fled from Syria to Jordan two years ago. There’s no space in local classrooms, and the boys, 12 and 14, ca...

Read more >

Thousands of children in Jordan attending ‘Summer Schools’ to compensate for missed school days AMMAN, Jordan, 11 July 2017: Over 3,000 children have begun attending a Summer School programme established by the Ministry of Education...

Read more >

The Ministry of Education, in collaboration with UNICEF and Generations For Peace, launches the programme in 100 schools 26 September 2017 – TAFILA, Jordan: The Ministry of Education today launched the “Nashatati” (our ac...

Read more >