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700,000 Jordanian and Syrian refugee children to benefit from education funding boost

World Bank Budget For Jordan 1
The project will help Jordan expand access to early childhood education (World Bank)

Early childhood development, Education funding, Education in emergencies, Refugees and internally displaced people, Right to education, Teachers and learning

A new $200m project will expand access to early childhood education and make other improvements, including training 30,000 teachers. 


Getting children ready to succeed at primary school has been a challenge for Jordan – especially since the Syrian refugee crisis.

In spite of steady improvements to the education system, a key issue has been low access to quality early childhood education. 

This has led to many children not being ready for school – especially those from poorer and disadvantaged backgrounds, including Syrian refugee children. 

This plus other factors, such as the quality of teaching, have meant one in five students in grade two are unable to read a single word. Nearly half are unable to perform a single subtraction task correctly.

But a major funding boost is aiming to rectify some of these issues. A $200 million World Bank project will help Jordan expand access to early childhood education and improve student assessment, teaching and learning conditions for Jordanian and Syrian refugee children. 

World Bank Budget For Jordan 3

The expansion of education access to Syrian refugee children has stretched resources thin (World Bank)

The Education Reform Support Program, approved yesterday, will benefit about 700,000 Jordanian and Syrian refugee children. It will also help to train more than 30,000 teachers.   

“The government of Jordan realised early on that keeping Syrian refugee children out of school would have detrimental impacts in the long term on peace, stability and economic development,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. 

Theirworld’s #5for5 campaign is calling for countries to invest in early childhood development – and to spend 10% of their education budgets on pre-primary.

Jordan is home to about 330,000 Syrian refugees under the age of 18. New research showed last month that one in five Syrian children there are not getting an education and 13% have never been enrolled.

A study by United Nations agencies UNHCR and UNICEF found that lack of space in schools, lack of transport and money, and bullying from other children were major factors in children not going to school.

Jordan’s commitment to protecting Syrian refugee children’s right to education and integrating them in the public formal sector has put severe strains on the country’s economy public services.

The primary school enrolment ratio had increased from 71% in 1994 to 99% in 2010 and the transition rate to secondary school rose from 63% to 98% over the same period. 

But the expansion of education to Syrian refugee children has stretched resources thin.

The World Bank said the new programme will support four major areas – expanding access and improving quality of early childhood education; improving teaching and learning conditions; reforming student assessment and certification system and strengthening education system management.

Jordan’s Queen Rania is particularly interested in early childhood education. Yesterday she was at the launch of the “Karim and Jana” free mobile application designed by the Queen Rania Foundation for Education and Development.

Made for Arabic-speaking children between three and six, it features fun and educational games through which children can develop their mathematical, linguistic and social skills.



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