Almost half of Syrian refugee children in the region are not receiving any form of education, according to a recent report by Save the Children.
The report also revealed that school enrollment within Syria had fallen from 95 percent to an average of 50 percent. This equates to around 2.8 million children being out of school in the war-ravaged state, one of the lowest enrollment rates in the world.
UNICEF Chief Education Officer Susan Ayari said that out of the 220,000 school-aged Syrian refugees in Jordan, 88,000 weren’t in education. She said they weren’t enrolled mainly because there was no room for them in existing schools. “Jordan has reached its maximum absorption capacity,” she said, adding there were already around 35,000 students on waiting lists.
Economic hardship is another significant contributing factor. “The families can’t afford their notebooks or whatever is needed to go to school,” she said. Ayari added that many children are also forced into child labor to help support their families.
Ayari said UNICEF was working to improve education for both Syrian and Jordanian children enrolled in the Kingdom’s overstretched public school system. “It’s not simply a question of education for Syrians improving, its education for all children,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is to support the Ministry of Education until such time that they have the ability to provide education for more Syrians.”
As the conflict enters its fifth year, almost four million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries. There are estimates that 1.4 million Syrians are currently in Jordan, of which over 620,000 are officially registered as refugees. According to the Ministry of Education Secretary General Mohammad Okour, over half of this population are children.