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Helping Syrian refugees in Jordan

10 January 2017

Our new teacher development project in Jordan in partnership with Queen Rania Teacher Academy, is set to help some of Syria's refugee school children. Six years into the conflict in Syria, access to quality education for Syrian refugees remains an issue.

Jordan, a country of 6.1 million citizens, has accepted almost 1.3 million Syrian refugees – around a third of the refugees are school-aged children between the ages of 6 and 18. New teachers have been hired and Syrian refugees have been allowed to enrol for free at Jordanian public schools, with many of these schools now operating second shifts. Jordanian teachers are faced with minimal resources and the daunting task of integrating students whose learning has been disrupted due to violence in their homeland. 

Our latest project will build the capacity of English language teachers working with Syrian refugee children in Jordanian public schools. Education Development Trust will be funding the project using the ring-fenced funds from our acquisition of the Alexandria Schools Trust whose remit is to improve English language teaching in the Middle East.

Addressing the challenge

'Even without the harrowing context of what these children have been through, learning English in Jordan is a challenge for Syrian refugees since English is introduced earlier in the Jordanian curriculum than in the Syrian curriculum,' explains Lina Aghajanian, project manager. 'Our aim with this project is to help teachers of English address the challenge of teaching students with different levels of ability and ensure all students are learning.'

Starting off with a pilot running from January-July 2017, Education Development Trust will work with 10 supervisors of English from the Ministry of Education to develop their coaching skills and train them on how to deliver an intensive five-day teacher training module. Each supervisor will be assigned a cluster of five schools to train and coach a total of 10 teachers each. The 100 teachers selected for the project will be those who have large numbers of Syrian refugee children in their classrooms and have received little professional development in the past. To ensure teachers have sufficient resources, classroom library books to be used for the project will be provided. The project team will provide ongoing support to the supervisors and will visit the 50 schools to ensure that the training is having an impact on the teaching and learning that takes place in the classrooms.

Increasing impact

To increase the impact of this project, Education Development Trust has partnered with the Queen Rania Teacher Academy (QRTA) – an education non-profit organisation with a focus on improving teaching and learning through teacher pre-service and in-service training in core subjects. QRTA is committed to advancing Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah's vision of empowering teachers, supervisors and principals with the skills, recognition and support necessary to excel at both the classroom and school levels; QRTA has implemented several programmes targeting teachers and this partnership is another opportunity to capitalise on their rich experience.

'As an organisation with a moral purpose, it means a lot to be able to constructively help these children in this way,' adds Tarek Alami, regional director for Middle East, North Africa and India. 'Following the pilot, we plan to expand this project across Jordan in 2017-2018, to work with additional schools and teachers working with Syrian refugees.'

To find out more, contact Lina Aghajanian: laghajanian@educationdevelopmenttrust.com