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Syrian children graduate at Zaatari schools

By JT - Jun 23,2014 - Last updated at Jun 23,2014

AMMAN — The end of the school term brought smiles to more than 10,000 Syrian children at the Zaatari Refugee Camp as they were awarded certificates on Monday for successfully completing the scholastic year, according to a UNICEF statement. 

At a graduation ceremony in School 3, certificates were handed out by Northwest Badia Education Director Sayel Khreisheh, First Counsellor of the European Union Delegation to Jordan Ibrahim Laafia and UNICEF Deputy Representative Michele Servadei.  Sixty of the most distinguished students, aged six to 16, were recognised for their performance during the school year, the statement said. 

At the event, Khreisheh noted that Jordan has opened its doors to Syrian children to ensure their future. 

“In Zaatari, as well as at schools in Mafraq and across the country, we are committed to welcoming Syrian children and providing the best quality education possible.” 

With a capacity of 15,000 pupils, the three schools in Zaatari come under the jurisdiction of the Education Ministry and are managed and run with support from UNICEF and its partner Save the Children Jordan. Jordanian teachers travel to Zaatari every day and are assisted by Syrian teachers who live in the camp, where the number of school-age children is estimated at 25,000, according to statement.

Laafia highlighted the importance of education for all children in Jordan.

“Today we see the result of the joint efforts by the government of Jordan and UNICEF to provide education to all Syrian refugees in camps and host communities.  It is a day of celebration for all of us, but in particular for all the children and their families.” 

“The EU Delegation would like to express its praise and gratitude to the educational team in the Zaatari school for their commitment and professionalism, and we would like to reiterate our commitment to further support the education for Syrian children in Jordan,” Laafia added.

The EU is one the most significant partners of the Education Ministry and UNICEF in supporting the education sector during the Syrian refugee crisis, the statement said, adding that with more than 20.6 million euros of funding to the agency over the past two years, the EU has provided learning opportunities for children in refugee camps, at public schools and informal education centres across the country. 

In April this year, the EU provided a new 9.9-million euro grant to UNICEF, which is helping scale up the emergency education response for displaced Syrian children and host communities in Jordan.   

Servadei stressed the importance of access to education for all children.

“Whether it’s a Syrian child living as a refugee, or a Jordanian living with a disability, all children have the right to learn. Ultimately, it is education that gives young people the opportunity to realise their full potential and to ensure that they play an active and productive role in society,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Following the graduation ceremony the students performed a short drama about the importance of education for the guests, who also visited a remedial class and an exhibition of artwork created by the schoolchildren. 

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