(MENAFN - Jordan Times) Bright and early on Tuesday morning, dozens of Syrian children ran to the gate of a public school in Ramtha for their first day of school.
While some students dread the start of the school year, these refugees, some of whom had been denied an education for over a year by violence and displacement, were thrilled.
"I thought I would never have the opportunity to go back to school," said Manal Ghazi, a resident of the Cyber City complex near Ramtha, 90 kilometres north of Amman.
Unlike other Syrian refugees residing in cities, who started the school year three weeks ago along with their Jordanian peers, Syrian children in Cyber City only started school on Tuesday.
"I was so happy when they told me that there was school and distributed notebooks to us," the 14-year-old told The Jordan Times.
The teenager said she had arrived in Jordan with her family two months ago after their house was "destroyed".
"Even the school I used to go to was bombed. I want to go back to my homeland, but there is no place to stay, or a school to go to," the eighth grader lamented.
Haidar, another Syrian child, also said he was happy to be back in school.
Although he is only in the third grade, Haidar said he already aspired to become a doctor, and was worried that his dream would not come true if he did not go back to school.
"I always wanted to become a doctor, but now I want to finish school very quickly to become a doctor and go back to Syria and help wounded people there," the eight-year-old said.
Haidar and Manal, along with 140 other Syrian students, got the chance to go back to school through the support of UNICEF, which is covering the cost of sending Syrian children to the Kingdom's public schools.
Through UNICEF's support, students residing in Cyber City will be bussed to schools in Ramtha every day, with the agency covering the wages of extra teachers, the cost of textbooks and other related expenses.
The agency is also helping the Ministry of Education cover the cost of enrolling Syrian students residing outside refugee facilities in the Kingdom's public schools.
In preparation for receiving the extra students, five prefabricated classrooms are being built at the Zainab Bint Al Rasoul School in Ramtha, where more than 80 Syrian students had registered.
At a meeting with UNICEF and EU representatives on Tuesday, Ahmad Thiabat, director of public education at the Ramtha Education Directorate, said that Syrian students currently made up 15 per cent of the total number of students in the northern border city's schools.
He noted that there are some 3,500 Syrian students registered in the Ramtha Education Directorate, of whom 1,000 are still on the waiting list as they could not begin school yet due to a shortage of classrooms.
To solve this problem, UNICEF is helping build the prefabricated classrooms with financial support from the European Commission.
UNICEF Jordan Representative Dominique Hyde said the EU was the only donor currently supporting the education of Syrian students in Jordan.