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.
POLICIES AND STRATEGIES
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.
REPORTS AND FACT SHEETS
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics country profile
- Educate a Child country profile
- TIMSS 2011 profile
- OECD Education GPS country profile
- EFA GMR education fact sheet
- World Bank Jordan overview
- UNICEF Jordan: Makani - My Space, All Children in Jordan Accessing Learning (brief)
- World Bank SABER Country Report on teachers
- World Bank SABER Country Report on workforce development
- UNICEF and REACH: Access to Education for Syrian Refugee Children and Youth in Jordan Host Communities
- UNICEF and REACH: Comprehensive child focused assessment in Za'atari camp
- International Peace Institute: Securing Education for Syrian Refugees in Jordan
- INEE, ESWG, UNICEF, MoE: Jordan Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies, English | Arabic
- Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Jordan's Refugee Crisis
- Human Rights Watch: We’re Afraid For Their Future’: Barriers to Education for Syrian Refugee Children in Jordan
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