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‘UNICEF, Education Ministry working to ensure Syrian children’s access to learning’

By Khetam Malkawi - Dec 16,2014 - Last updated at Dec 16,2014

AMMAN — Despite financial constraints and overcrowding in schools across the Kingdom, UNICEF and the Education Ministry on Tuesday reiterated their commitment to ensuring that all children in Jordan are provided access to learning opportunities.

“Despite our challenges, the Ministry of Education is committed to providing education for all children and young people, but we need continued support,” Education Minister Mohammad Thneibat said in a joint statement released by the ministry and UNICEF.

The statement said UNICEF is supporting the ministry in coping with the huge pressure on the education system by developing “innovative solutions” for alternative education pathways so that children currently out of school can become engaged in learning activities. 

In addition to strengthening the formal education system, priority will also be directed to transforming many of the existing child and youth-friendly centres into facilities that provide non-formal and informal learning opportunities, life skills education, and promote meaningful engagement of adolescents and youths. 

“At key junctures, children will have the opportunity to take placement tests so that they can gain access to the formal school system as opportunities become available,” the UN agency said in the statement.

According to UNICEF figures, there are 200,000 school-age Syrian refugee children in Jordan and almost 90,000 of them are currently out of school.

UNICEF Representative to Jordan Robert Jenkins said the agency will continue working to raise funds to cover the education costs of Syrian children in Jordan, stressing that one of UNICEF’s key objectives is to ensure that all children receive an education.

 “We want to provide various education paths for them, to enable them to join the school system,” Jenkins told The Jordan Times over the phone.

He noted, however, that the Education Ministry is concerned about the quality of education, and will not be able to enrol Syrian children in some areas due to overcrowding.

Thus, “UNICEF will work to expand the capacity of schools” and provide alternative education for children who are unable to join schools, the UN official added.

Currently, 98 schools across the Kingdom operate on the double-shift system in order to enrol Syrian students, according to official figures.

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