This Blog is written by Aalaa Halaka
Dr. Zainab Shawabkeh is the head of the department of education at the Ministry of Education in Jordan. At the ERF conference on The Impacts of the Syrian Refugees Influx on the Jordanian Economy she participated as a panel commentator on The Influx of Syrian Refugees on Education and Housing Outcomes for Jordanians, which was based on analysis of the the Jordan Labor Market Panel Survey (JLMPS) 2016 data.
Dr. Shawabkeh starts by emphasizing that a key -seldom overlooked- aspect of the refugees crisis that Jordan is facing is the humanitarian crisis. Considering the long history of the Kingdom as a safe haven for refugees, it always strives to spare no effort in equitably integrating them into the economy. That said, the Jordanian government has struggled with the provision of education to all students, Jordanians and non-Jordanians alike. In response to the crisis, the Ministry has taken a number of measures, including double-shift schooling -which it has worked hard to put to an end- and renting out school buildings to accommodate the increase in the number of students. This has in turn created additional challenges that put significant pressure on existing infrastructure.
In addition to basic needs, refugee children are prone to experiencing psychological issues, which are most evident in their inability to accept their refugee status. In response to these special needs, the Ministry has put in place teacher training programs that help school teachers educate Jordanian students to both accept and include refugee students, as well as to best accommodate the psychological needs of refugees.
According to the official UNICEF records, there are around 73,000 unschooled refugee students in Jordan; an issue that is being addressed by the Ministry in coordination with the UNICEF, and that can be alleviated with the increase in aid to be directed to the appropriation of new school buildings. She concludes with the hope that the conference brings about fair recommendations for the crisis Jordan in general, and for the Ministry of Education in specific, in order for it to continue to provide quality education for both Jordanian and Syrian students alike.
The Policy Conference on Employment, Education and Housing in Jordan: The Impacts Of The Syrian Refugee Influx is held in Amman, Jordan, on 13 May 2018. This event aims to examine the impact of the Syrian refugee influx on various aspects of life for Jordanians, including their labor market outcomes, their access to education services and housing, and their demographic behavior in terms of marriage and fertility. Visit the conference website to find out more about the events and access policy briefs, working papers, videos and blogs.