UNICEF Opens School, Kindergarten in Jordan's Zaatari Camp

Published October 30th, 2018 - 01:41 GMT
Young Syrian refugees attend a UNICEF-run school at the al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq. (AFP/ Khalil Mazraawi)
Young Syrian refugees attend a UNICEF-run school at the al-Zaatari refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq. (AFP/ Khalil Mazraawi)

UNICEF inaugurated the opening of new educational facilities in Zaatari camp on Monday.

The inauguration, in the presence of Ministry of Education (MoE) representatives, included one new school, six new kindergarten classrooms and an inclusive playground.

The facilities were funded through donations from Australia, South Korea, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom.

South Korean ambassador to Jordan, Bom-yon Lee added that the new infrastructure was “more than satisfactory”.

The new facilities include the first fully-inclusive playground for children with disabilities in the refugee camp, as part of national efforts to make education inclusive for all children.

The playground was designed and equipped for children with and without disabilities to play together, according to a UNICEF press release.

“In crisis-affected communities, children with disabilities are among the most marginalised, yet they are still at risk of being excluded from humanitarian assistance,” said Robert Jenkins, UNICEF Jordan representative.

“Our work with the government of Jordan to build a more inclusive and accessible education system has resulted in over 4,000 children with disabilities enrolling in public schools in host communities and refugee camps since 2012”, Jenkins continued.

The opening of the playground provides even “greater optimism” for a future where all children can participate in playing and learning without physical barriers, according to the UNICEF representative.

UNICEF offers school support for 19,000 children in the camp, including 700 children with disabilities and 1,100 children in kindergarten.

After nearly seven years of the crisis in Syria, Jordan deserves “all credit” for recognising the importance of education to refugees and opening schools to them, Ambassador of Australia to Jordan Miles Armitage said, adding: “The risk of children not going to school and completing their education is too high, and Jordan to its very credit has recognised that.”

Education is still important, even after seven years of conflict. “That was the base on which South Korea was built” said Lee.

“The Australian government puts education at the top of its priorities,” Armitage said, adding that “50 per cent of our funding goes to education, and around Aus$ 10 million goes directly into a special account for the [MoE]”.

Jordan, a country that welcomes refugees and sets an exemplary model of dealing with those in need, still pays “great attention” to the importance of education, according to an MoE representative. On the same note Armitage added: “The international community should take on the funding role for schooling projects.”

Zaatari refugee camp accommodates 78,340 refugees, among which 44,054 are underage, and 24,784 of whom are eligible for education, according to UNICEF officials.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Copyright The Jordan Times. All rights reserved.

You may also like