Jordan spends $90 million on Syrian refugees' education, says Levant IFC Manager

[18-12-2019 06:37 AM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - Country Manager, Levant at International Finance Corporation (IFC), Dalia Wahba, said Jordan has witnessed an "unprecedented" influx of refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war, noting about 1.3 million Syrians have taken refuge in Jordan during the past five years, and the Treasury has paid the costs of providing food, housing, and education during this period.

In an interview with "Petra" on Wednesday, Wahba noted about 143,000 Syrian students are receiving their education at Jordanian schools, which strained the Kingdom's educational system, adding Jordan spends more than $ 90 million annually on the education of Syrian refugees, an amount equivalent to about 7% of the budget of the Ministry of Education.

600 government schools in Jordan are now operating two shifts, and the average number of students in per each classroom is 40 students, or more than 50% of the national average to of classroom capacity, she announced, adding "poor" budgets force officials to postpone urgent reforms.

Education, she said, is vital for Jordan’s future, which provides both Jordanian and Syrian students the basis to build their lives.

On the IFC's aid, she said the corporation will provide assistance to the Jordanian government to revitalize its educational system, as it will provide technical support with regard to structuring partnerships between the public and private sectors, in addition to supporting government decision-makers when submitting transparent competitive bids, and to ensuring that the winning bidder has the ability to implement a project of this size.

The Jordanian Ministry of Education, she noted, aims to build 600 new schools over the next decade with support from the private sector for the first time, adding this type of partnership between the public and private sectors is the first in the Middle East and North Africa region.

On the private sector's role, she announced the private companies will finance, build, operate, and maintain those schools before eventually transferring their ownership to the government, noting the private sector's funding of the schools construction will reduce the financial burden on the state and allow the government to allocate more funds to priority areas.

She indicated that the government will grant contracts to build 15 primary and secondary schools in Amman, Zarqa and Irbid next year, as these schools will provide education for 15,000 Jordanian students and 20,000 Syrian refugees.

Thus, the private sector, she noted, will pump $30-40 million in funding in the Kingdom's education system in Jordan, will reduce the classroom overcrowding, will facilitate the student learning tasks, and will end the period-based system in many schools.

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