Inclusive and quality education for every child
Jordan has almost achieved its target of universal access to primary education - with 97% of children in school - and maintained gender parity in education since 1979. However, progress in school enrolment has not benefited all children equally, including children with disabilities and refugee children, and improving the quality of education requires greater focus and investment.
Children from poor socio-economic backgrounds, children involved in child labour and children with disabilities are at a higher risk of being out of school. Children with multiple and overlapping vulnerabilities are at greater risk of either dropping out or being out of education altogether.
Early childhood development opportunities occur primarily in homes, with only 13% of children aged 3 to 4 years old accessing Kindergarten 1 (KG1); and 59% of those aged 5 to 6 years old attending Kindergarten 2 (KG2).
More female students are enrolled in secondary school than male students. Boys are more likely to drop out of school due to poor academic achievements, violence, bullying and labour. Lagging boys’ performance may be tied to teacher quality, availability of male teachers, violence in schools, availability of quality school environments and student-teacher ratio.
Meanwhile, girls are more likely to be kept at home due to protection concerns and household responsibilities such as caring for younger siblings or ailing parents. Girls are also far more likely to be married at an early age.
Learning outcomes in Jordan are poor throughout basic and secondary education. 70% of students in Grades 2 and 3 are reading without comprehension (National Committee for Human Resources Development, 2016). Students consistently perform poorly in international standardized tests, including in mathematics and science.
UNICEF is the co-lead of the country's working group on education and its education programming is fully aligned with Jordan's Education Strategic Plan 2018-2022. UNICEF's evidence-based education interventions for children include:
UNICEF is supporting the Government to build a more inclusive and accessible education system for all children. This includes making all public schools inclusive by 2028. To date:
- Over 1,600 Ministry of Education teachers have been trained to deliver inclusive education services inside public schools;
- Two model inclusive schools - designed and equipped so that every student, no matter their ability, can learn together - have opened;
- 4,000 children with disabilities have been supported to enrol in public schools and receive the assistance they need to attend regular classes and reach their potential over the last five years.
UNICEF supports quality preschool education and stimulating caregiving services for all children. This includes supporting the Government to achieve the universalization of Kindergarten (KG) 2 by 2025 through:
- Opening new KG classrooms in refugee camps and in community-based centres across Jordan and mainstreaming play-based and child-centred learning in the curriculum and teacher training;
- Strengthening the system for KG provision through a one-stop shop for licensing, quality assurance and capacity building of teachers and service providers;
- Implementing an innovative cash-transfer programme for families in the most vulnerable districts to enable them to enroll their children in KG2.
Non-formal education is certified by the Ministry of Education and available for children and adolescents aged 9-20 years who are outside of formal education. To date:
- 12,000 vulnerable young people aged 12 and older, who have never been to school or who have missed more than 3 years, have accessed the UNICEF-supported Drop Out programme since November 2015;
- Close to 5,000 children (44% girls) aged 9-12 years who have never been to school or missed more than 3 years of school have taken part in the UNICEF-supported Catch Up programme since 2016. Over 1,700 have successfully integrated back into the formal education system.
UNICEF's expertise in bringing together education, youth engagement and child protection programmes is helping to create a better learning environment for children and youth in Jordan, including:
- Scaling the capacity of the Ministry of Education to improve teacher performance and motivation to improve student learning;
- Supporting safe learning environments, including for children with disabilities;
- Enhancing social cohesion for all young people;
- Stepping up prevention, reporting and response to violence against children.