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MENAFN - Jordan Times - 09/06/2012

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(MENAFN - Jordan Times) The number of Syrians registered in Jordanian schools has topped 7,000, officials say, in yet another sign that the growing refugee community is preparing for an extended stay in the Kingdom.

According to Ministry of Education statistics quoted in a UN report released on Wednesday, some 7,300 Syrian students are enrolled in the Kingdom's public schools - up from 5,300 in April.

The rise in registrations comes in spite of the end of the second school term, a trend relief agencies attribute to a growing realisation among displaced Syrians that they will likely still be in the Kingdom at the start of the fall school term.

Um Samir, a 29-year-old Homs resident, is one of dozens of mothers who have come forward to register their children in recent weeks, in an effort to prevent her three sons from "falling behind" in their studies.

"If we can't return home we will live our life as normal; this is our way of supporting the revolution," said the mother of six from her one-room Mafraq apartment.

"They may destroy our homes, but they cannot destroy my children's future."

Officials have privately expressed concern over a potential influx of Syrian students into the Kingdom's public schools, many of which have already switched to a two-shift system due to overcrowding.

Although there are no current plans to reverse a policy allowing Syrians access to public schools, education ministry sources say that should the international community fail to step up its support to Jordan, the measure will be placed "on the table" for discussion.

Meanwhile, UNICEF and its local partners are boosting efforts to provide education and psycho-social support to children residing in so-called transit facilities: a collection of housing complexes where illegal arrivals are held pending a financial guarantee signed by a Jordanian national assuming full legal responsibility for the individual's or family's actions while within the Kingdom.

Relief agencies stress the importance of implementing social support programmes and child-friendly spaces for new arrivals, many of whom have suffered trauma from witnessing massacres and the sometimes life-threatening journey over the border.

However, the UN has yet to fulfil an 84 million pledge to support Syrian refugees announced in March, 40 million of which is earmarked for Jordan, and the UN Refugee Agency is already set to launch a second aid appeal to face a potential prolonged "humanitarian crisis".

Jordan continues to follow an open-border policy, having granted refuge to some 120,000 Syrians since the start of Damascus' military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in March 2011.

 






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