AMMAN — UNICEF Jordan will reduce the scale and scope of several of its education programmes for Syrian refugee children due to insufficient international support, the UN agency announced in the German city of Cologne on Friday.
As a result of a funding gap of $8.6 million, only 10,000 Syrian refugee children out of a total of 55,000 eligible children from unprivileged families will continue to receive financial support from UNICEF to cover educational expenses such as school material or uniforms, while another 2,500 students residing in remote settlements will suffer from the lack of transportation to and from school. The shortage of funds may also force the UN agency to shut down 100 of its Makani (“My Space” in Arabic) centres, which provide learning opportunities, psychosocial support and life skills training for children out of the formal education system.
Christian Schneider, CEO of UNICEF Germany, expressed his fear that “more refugee children in Jordan will continue to drop out of school and fall victims to child labour or early marriage”, stressing that “for the children and their families, education means hope — especially in their troubled situation”.
In response to the crisis, UNICEF Germany has transferred a total of 500,000 euros in emergency aid, calling on stakeholders to come forward with further donations.
“Our contribution alone cannot secure the continuation of all UNICEF educational programmes,” Schneider said, calling on the international community to continue to provide assistance.
A total of 130,000 Syrian refugee children in Jordan were enrolled in schools across refugee camps and host communities in 2017 according to UNICEF Jordan representative, Robert Jenkins, who noted that the number of Syrian children enrolled in the UN agency’s catch-up and dropout programmes in 2017 reached 5,600, while the number of Syrian children enrolled in KG2 surpassed 3,000.
In this undated photo, Syrian refugee children are seen at a school. UNICEF has stopped a cash assistance programme to these children as a result of dwindling funding (Photo courtesy of UNICEF)