“I regret every day I spent away from school”
In Jordan in early September, 53 students received their certificates after spending 10 months taking an informal education programme organised by Première Urgence Internationale – a just reward that marks a return to school for these children who, in many cases, have been out of education for years.
“I regret every day I spent away from school. I really wish I never left. Especially when I see my friends getting ready to go back to school,” explains Osama, a young student who was forced to leave education a few years ago. Osama is one of the 53 young people to have graduated from the long-term informal education programme. This programme has been developed by Première Urgence Internationale in Jordan. And he has now found hope once more: “I’m going to keep on reading so I can go back to school now that the lessons with Première Urgence Internationale have finished.”
The return to school – a road littered with obstacles
The aim of these lessons – which take place over a 10-month period – is to allow young people who have left education to return to the formal education system. “Of the 53 students who took the course, 29 have already registered with a school this year,” Martin Rosselot, head of mission for Première Urgence Internationale in Jordan, announces with delight. It is a great success for these children for whom the road back to school is littered with obstacles. “Some have been out of school for over a year. When they arrived in Jordan, their family, fleeing Syria, didn’t have enough money to send them to school. Some of them had no choice but to work.”
As a result, the informal education programme doesn’t just cover catch-up classes in maths, Arabic, science, English or physical education. Alongside teachers, the team also includes assistants and social workers. They support the students and regularly work with parents to help them understand the importance of education. The team helps them in their efforts to ensure that their children can find a place in the public education system once again.
Working on self-esteem
The children chosen to take part in the back-to-school programme are young people aged 7 to 17, and include Syrian and Iraqi refugees as well as Jordanian children. They left the school system long ago. “As well as the lessons they take, we also work on self-esteem. Very often, these school-leaver students think that they are unable to learn and succeed. As well as educational support, we also offer psychological care for those who need it. In addition, we have limited numbers of students in each class for better-quality and more personalised follow-up.”
The teams’ work doesn’t finish at the end of the school day or when the students get their certificates. At the end of the school year, the social workers help them to register with a school in Jordan. “They all have the right to return to education in Jordan. We help some of the students, particularly those who come from another country, with the administrative processes.”
“Education is one of the most important things there is”
In 2017, Première Urgence Internationale also set up a three-month course in community centres. The teams work in Amman, in the Al Hashemi and Zarqa’s Hai Ramzee districts. Since 2016, 516 students have taken these informal education programmes.
Brandishing her certificate with satisfaction, Aya explains her view: “Education is one of the most important things there is. There’s a big difference between someone who stays at home and someone who goes to school and makes progress.”
Project funded by the Agence Française de Développement