Supporting Education in Jordan for Refugee and Jordanian Children
Submitted by: Killashandra Rashid, Program Officer, International Humanitarian Assistance Bureau - Global Affairs, Government of Canada
Email: [email protected]
Introduction to the project
Jordan - Middle East
Refugee education support in Jordan started through UNICEF and other NGO partners in 2011 or 2012. Through the bilateral program, Canada has been supporting education since the early 2000 in Jordan, with a specific focus on refugee education starting in 2015 (UNICEF Makanis and CLWR).
Canada’s comprehensive approach to respond to the education needs of both refugees and host community children is ongoing, in Jordan as well as in the region as a whole through its Middle East Strategy (2016-2021). Canada has a commitment to provide direct budget support to the Ministry of Education until 2022.
An example of a coordinated comprehensive refugee response, Canada’s development and humanitarian assistance towards Jordan’s education sector is focused on improving access to quality public education for all children, regardless of nationality.
Canada’s education programming in Jordan aims to improve access to quality education in Jordan, for both Jordanians and refugees. Canada’s programming and engagement in Jordan are key components of its whole-of-government Middle East strategy (Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon). The strategy invests up to $3.5 billion over five years (2016-2021) to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria, and their impact in the region, in particular on Jordan and Lebanon. Canada aims to address the enormous strain on the local communities that provide essential services and to alleviate tensions between the over 665,000 registered Syrian refugees in Jordan and host communities over housing, jobs, food prices, schools, and health facilities.
As part of the strategy, both humanitarian and development assistance is being provided to respond to the education needs of refugee and host community children. Global Affairs Canada has provided $31 million in gender responsive humanitarian assistance to UNICEF’s Emergency Education Assistance for Children in Jordan project (2016-2018). As part of UNICEF’s No Lost Generation Initiative, Canada has supported over 200 Makani (“My Space” in English) community centers which have provided 180,000 beneficiaries (80% children; over half of them girls) with safe places to learn and grow, and to help channel children into formal education. Targeting Syrian refugees and vulnerable children from host communities, the program also increases demand for education and reduces the cultural and financial barriers for enrolment and retention in schools.
Through the broader No Lost Generation Initiative in Jordan, UNICEF has supported catch-up and drop-out programmes and Learning Service Support reaching over 244,000 Syrian and vulnerable Jordanian children and youth. Increasing attention has also been given to social protection frameworks, including the use of cash-based interventions. For example, the ‘Hajati’ cash for education programme has reached more than 55,000 vulnerable children (86% Syrians).
Humanitarian assistance has been complemented by longer term development assistance to build resilient and quality education systems in Jordan that benefit host country and refugee children. Development assistance has focused on building national systems to enhance the quality of education system-wide, for the benefit of all 1.3 million children enrolled in public schools (including over 130,000 Syrian refugee children enrolled in Jordan’s public schools).For example, Canada is providing $16M to the Accelerating Access Initiative (AAI), a multi-donor account set up to off-set the GoJ’s additional costs of providing formal education for Syrian children, including tuition fees, textbooks, furniture, teachers training and operational costs of schools. Additionally, Canada is providing $75M in the form of direct budget support to the Ministry of Education for the implementation of the national Education Strategic Plan, a 5-year prioritized and costed strategy to strengthen the quality and capacity of the public education system in Jordan.
- Favourable legal context: Jordan allows all children, regardless of their nationality to access the school system. The creation of the AAI that followed this GoJ commitment allowed the Ministry of Education to take full ownership to address the crisis.
- The provision of long-term, multi-year regional funding works to lay the foundation for economic, social and political stability and fulfills Grand Bargain commitments to provide adequate, predictable and flexible funding to humanitarian crises. This includes the international community’s strong commitment to providing the necessary funding to off-set the cost of allowing Syrian refugee children into formal education (through AAI, donors have collectively mobilised around CAD 250M for this purpose from 2016 to 2019). Canada is a top-tier donor to international development efforts in Jordan, ranking as the 5th largest country donor for development assistance as of 2018.
- The joint coordinated approach of the government of Jordan and the education donors has proven to be very effective, including the utilisation of a multi-donor account modality to support the AAI, as well as the existence of strong government-led education sector coordination mechanisms at country level.
- The development of the Education Strategic Plan (2018-2022) provided a clear prioritized and costed strategy around which donors could align their support in the education sector, including for refugee children. The ESP also includes a strategy to mainstream gender equality in education, as well as a gender equality action plan. Both the ESP, and its related gender strategy were developed with the financial support of Canada.
- Continued provision of technical assistance to the Ministry of Education (by Canada and others) facilitated the implementation and management of the AAI by the Ministry of Education, as well as the gradual integration of its monitoring mechanisms into the broader Ministry monitoring processes, and contributed to national system strengthening to improve the quality of public education in Jordan for both Jordanians and refugee children.
- Canada’s Middle East strategy is an example of a coordinated comprehensive refugee response which is an example of Canada’s international assistance in taking a whole-of-government approach, including humanitarian, development and security elements. Canada’s education support in Jordan is a concrete example of the impact of this approach.
Multiple UN, NGO and government actors were key partners in the implementation of the approach, including:
- Jordan’s Ministry of Education
- The Queen Rania Teacher Academy
- Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Challenges and how they were overcome
Continuing economic challenges and growing disparities are resulting in a more precarious situation for the most vulnerable children. Nearly one in three of the 233,052 registered Syrian refugee school-aged children were out of any form of education at the beginning of 2018. Canada’s support to humanitarian and development partners, including Canada’ support through the Education for Jordan’s Prosperity (sector budget support) and the AAI Queen Rania Teacher Academy, Canadian Lutheran World Relief and UNICEF aims to address these challenges by supporting system-wide strengthening of the public education system. In order to address the issue of out-of-school children, partners are also focussing on obtaining better data to help identify exactly how many children are out of school and the reasons why, in order to develop strategies and actions to tackle this specific issue.
Over the last two decades, Jordan has successfully improved access to education for boys and girls, and increased the efficiency of its education. Following the onset of the Syria crisis, this progress has been threatened by the need to accommodate an additional 230,000 school-aged Syrian refugee children, as well as Jordan’s economic difficulties which have resulted in significant budgetary pressures for the Ministry of Education. Together, these factors have contributed to a worrisome decline in education quality for all children enrolled in public education, including refugee children. Of particular concern are poor student learning outcomes at all levels as demonstrated by international comparison and the reverse gender gap with girls performing better than boys at all grade levels and in almost all subject areas. In general, the presence of a large number of refugee children in Jordan has made it difficult to strike the balance between access and quality, with the focus being heavily on access. To overcome these challenges, partners are providing support to specifically improve the quality of education and support the Ministry of Education in undertaking key reforms in the area of teacher professional development.
Coordination of education interventions targeting refugees with the broader education sector has been a challenge. Massive initiatives to increase access to education for Syrian refugees, such as the AAI, have contributed to the emergence of separate and parallel coordination and monitoring systems. Canada’s support for the development of the ESP aimed at improving the coordination within the sector, including for planning, monitoring and reporting purposes, and helped mitigate the risk of duplication.
QRTA and other development partners have noted specific challenges faced by male educators and specific needs in boys’ schools, including a greater shortage of teachers and more violence in the school environment. Girls' schools in general are safer and offer a more constructive environment, which is then reflected in their higher academic performance. Female teachers are usually more committed to participating in and completing professional development programs. Partners are responding to these challenges through the continuous development program activities and seeking creative ways to support gender parity through integrating a selection mechanism in its implementation.
Results of the Good Practice
- In Jordan, 1.3 million children enrolled in public schools, including over 135,000 Syrian refugee children, have benefited from development assistance focused on building national systems to enhance the quality of education system-wide;
- Over 30,000 educators reached to improve the professional development of public school teachers and to support the Ministry of Education’s goals regarding in-service teacher professional development training.
- 180,000 beneficiaries (80% children; over 50% girls) in over 200 UNICEF Makani community centers have been supported through gender-responsive humanitarian assistance ($31M over three years) with safe places to learn and grow, and to help channel children into formal education;
- Over 244,000 Syrian and vulnerable Jordanian children and youth reached through the UNICEF No Lost Generation Initiative’s catch-up and drop-out programmes and Learning Service Support.
- Over 40 schools rehabilitated to increase access to functional physical learning environments that meet gender-differentiated and accessibility needs.
- In 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 school years, every public school in Jordan has received an average of JOD 1,000 in school block grants, which are additional resources provided with the aim of improving the quality of education at the school level.
- Electrification is underway (to be finalized shortly) in all camp schools for Syrian refugees in Jordan.
- All schools servicing Syrian refugee children in Jordan have received significant support for their maintenance needs.
How the project meets the GCR Objectives
Objective 1: Ease the pressures on host countries
The project directly addresses Objective 1 by supporting local host communities in Jordan, in addition to refugee communities, by improving access to quality public education.
Objective 2: Enhance refugee self-reliance
The project directly addresses Objective 2 by improving the quality of education, increasing access to informal education, and supporting out-of-school children to bridge back into formal education. These initiatives increase refugee self-reliance and aid youth in their life transition away from precarious forms of employment.
Canada’s comprehensive approach to respond to the education needs of both refugees and host community children is ongoing, in Jordan as well as in the region as a whole through its Middle East Strategy (2016-2021).