Education opens up Perspectives
Title: Higher education creates prospects for young Syrians and Jordanians
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) Special Initiative "Tackling the root causes of displacement – reintegrating refugees"
Lead executing agency: Jordanian Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation
Overall term: 2015 to 2019
Since the outbreak of the civil war in Syria in 2011, around 4.8 million people have fled the country to escape violence and destruction. Most have found refuge in neighbouring countries. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Jordan had officially registered more than 655,000 Syrian refugees by mid-2016. Many of them are young adults who hope for a brighter future. They want to access higher education but face obstacles to studying in Jordan, including their financial situation, residence status, poor foreign language skills and lack of documents. Without prospects, and having been through often traumatic experiences, many refugees see no way out of their situation.
The arrival of very large numbers of refugees has caused the Jordanian population to soar by 10 per cent in just a few years. Poorer population groups in particular struggle to accept the refugees, who create competition for resources such as school places, water and, particularly, jobs. Young Jordanians also have poor prospects.
To counteract this sense of competition and the social tensions it creates, the project supports both Syrian refugees and young Jordanians who would not be able to access higher education without financial support.
The perspectives of young Syrians and Jordanians in host communities are improved.
Particularly high numbers of Syrian refugees are living in host communities in the capital Amman and areas to the north, near the Syrian-Jordanian border. For the younger generation of both groups, education is the key to a better future. To enable young people who would not otherwise have the financial resources to attend university, an education project implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is awarding scholarships. Half the recipients are Syrian refugees and half are disadvantaged young Jordanians. Women make up half of each group.
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and its local partners are also encouraging scholarship holders to share their experiences with one another and with representatives of international organisations and donors. To facilitate this process, GIZ is creating networks and organising regular meetings. Furthermore, the students are attending courses on constructive ways of managing conflicts. They learn how to manage projects and to lead teams, how to communicate effectively, to prepare powerful presentations, and to chair discussions in an efficient way.
It is not just the scholarship holders themselves who benefit from studying and accessing further learning opportunities. Well-educated Jordanians will be equipped to further the development of their country. The Syrian students will most probably be part of the generation that rebuilds their country once the war is over. Until that time, they apply their knowledge and skills in their host communities, thus boosting integration.
The project is part of the BMZ special initiative ‘Tackling the Root Causes of Displacement, Reintegrating Refugees’, which provides short-term support to refugees and their host communities. In the long term, sustainable measures are designed to eliminate the structural causes of displacement, such as social inequality and food insecurity. This project is a contribution to providing education and training and boosting the prospects of Syrian refugees and young Jordanians.
A total of 80 young people have the opportunity to embark on a course of study at Master’s level. The 2015/2016 academic year saw the first 39 scholarship holders enrolling across 21 different disciplines at four universities. In March 2016, more students have been selected to receive a scholarship and a second intake of 41 students has started with their studies in October 2016. More than 400 young people applied for this sought-after support for the 2016 academic year.
In addition to studying, 70 per cent of the scholarship holders are voluntarily involved in a total of 17 social projects mostly run by local or international organisations. The young people support peaceful relations between Jordanians and Syrians in host communities, provide psychosocial support for Syrian refugees, lead play sessions for orphans and run computer courses for students.