The number of Syrian refugee schoolchildren in Jordan has risen to 141,000, up from about 121,000 at the start of the year, but many school-age refugee children remained outside classrooms, according to updated statistics.
Director of the Syrian Refugee Camps’ Affairs Department, Waddah Hmoud, gave a briefing on the condition of displaced Syrians in the Kingdom during a meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour.
Hmoud updated the panel on humanitarian health, education, social protection and accommodation services Jordan offers to the refugees "both inside and outside the refugee camps." Ensour instructed that no Syrian children should be denied the right to education "as it is a moral and legal obligation the Jordanian state should fulfil towards these children." Deputy Premier and Minister of Education Mohammad Thneibat pointed to the huge pressure the refugee pupils pose on his ministry's schools, particularly in the northern governorates of Irbid and Mafraq, home to a large Syrian refugee community.
He said the ministry is seeking to increase the number of school buildings to accommodate the rising number of students and also referred to efforts by education authorities to get more refugee children to be enrolled in the Kingdom's public schools.
Also up for discussion during the meeting was the pressure the Syrian refugee population poses on the healthcare sector, estimated to have cost the treasury $253 million last year.
Ensour referred to the burden of the refugees' influx, estimated to reach $2.9 billion this year, noting that the figures had been adopted by the United Nations and pointing out that total aid Jordan had received for hosting the refugees did not exceed 38 per cent of the costs, while the treasury bears the remaining 62 per cent.
The committee also reviewed the progress of work of the mobile drain water treatment units and water supply tenders for the Syrian refugee camps of Azraq and Zaatari, a reduction in the value of food vouchers to the refugees as well as the impact of the refugee crisis on the Kingdom's housing sector.