What We Fear For Jordan!

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 17 August / Aug 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

The Human Rights Watch report on Syrian refugee children integration in Jordanian schools shed light on the perils threatening the education sector in the not so far future. The report, titled “We Fear for Their Future”, was fair to Jordan, and has laid out, with balance, the general situation and the generous efforts placed by the Jordanian government to ensure Syrian children receive their right to an education.

Even though Jordan has successfully integrated 75 thousand children in the 2016/17 semesters, one third of the totality of Syrian children within age range to enrol in schools, registered with the UNHCR, have not received this right; and they are estimated by nearly 80 thousand children.

The report also mentions that Jordan has only received by a humble some of the grants and aid promised to support the education sector; the Strategic Jordanian Response Plan for the Syrian refugee crisis has approximated the incurred additional expense for education at nearly USD250 million for the current year, out of which Jordan has received no more than USD 42 million, according to the Human Rights Watch.

We also know that receiving Syrian children in Jordanian schools, on the long run, incurs a massive load on the government public education sector. Most of the public schools are overly packed, with a suffocating shortage in classrooms and teachers. And because of the growing demand by refugees and the increasing pressures of international organisations, government authorities have had to sacrifice the quality of the education process and overcome many of the limits set on classroom capacities and teacher-to-student ratios per school, as well as the portions of class per student.

And while the Ministry of Education has been struggling to put an end to the 2-shift schooling system, it is now reactivated in many schools, to tend to Syrian refugee children.

Truth be told, education in Jordan was not in its best situation before the Syrian refugee crisis. But the flow of Syrian children into government schools, at such an outscaling mass, has only intensified the education crisis itself, particularly in light of shortage in national resources, and the declining international response level to the emergent necessities of the education sector in Jordan.

Yet, so far, despite the scale of the current crisis, it remains containable, for now, compared to what could culminate in the future. Over the sprint of only a few years from now, Jordan will receive support, no matter how little, to at least match the necessities of the education sector, as well as other sectors.

More so, as the crisis in Syria is not imminent to resolve soon, and even should the international community succeed in putting an end to the current war, the chances that refugees go home within some years are little to none; for most at least.

Typically, the vigour of international organisations usually cools as conflicts lengthen, and they begin to withdraw from the field, to redirect focus on new conflicts and crises in other parts of the world. Many instances on this, all around, over many decades, stand evident of many a humanitarian crises forgotten.

In this case, host countries usually stand alone facing the weighs of refuge. And this is what we fear for Jordan; if the world is barely chipping in their responsibilities right now, while we are at the heap of crisis, how will it be once the war stops in Syria and things cool off a bit?