News | 25 05 2020
The United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has decided to entirely block its financial support for the Syrian teaching staff at the schools of Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan.
Radio Rozana’s private sources from inside the camp stated that, on July 24, the international organization held a meeting with a large group of Syrian teachers there. During this meeting, UNICEF informed the teachers about its decision to completely stop its support, considering that they have become out of the educational process within the schools of the camp.
A Jordanian teacher working in the schools of Zaatari camp, Anwar al-Masri, said in a statement to Rozana that, "Shorouq Fakhouri, UNICEF Representative and other UNHCR representatives, together with the camp's security official, met with about half of the Syrian teaching staff, which are nearly 700 teachers in total”.
Al-Masri explained that, “UNICEF representative told the Syrian teachers that the funding received by the organization has become very low. Therefore, UNICEF will utterly lift its support for the schools of Zaatari camp, considering these teachers out of the educational process. Fakhouri said: “In case you find any other job, do not waste the opportunity away”.
The Jordanian teacher pointed out that the Syrian teachers who attended the meeting with UNICEF were clearly disturbed. Many of them preferred to leave the meeting, expressing their rejection of UNICEF's orientation to lift the support.
Al-Masri considered that the decision to lift subsidies due to poor financial resources will affect the educational process in the camp. "There is a high probability that parents will not send their children to study in protest against what has recently happened, and that weak funding will lead to a strong desire among the refugees in the camp to return to Syria".
Nonetheless, the teaching operation will continue in the schools of Zaatari camp, despite the decision of UNICEF, through the funding allocated by the Jordanian Ministry of Education, which is limited to providing books, equipments, and the salaries of Jordanian teachers only, according to al-Masri.
On her part, Khattam Malkawi, UNICEF’s media officer in Jordan stated to Rozana that, "as a result of a funding gap, Syrian assistant teachers in Zaatari camp have been informed that the necessary financial sources to pay their salaries will not be available starting from the 2018 academic year. "
Malkawi asserted that, "UNICEF will continue to seek funding and will ensure providing quality services to children and women in the camp”.
In an exclusive interview conducted by Rozana with a teacher affected by the decision of UNICEF, she said: "On Tuesday, Jul 24, 2018, UNICEF told us during the meeting that the organization’s financial support had been reduced and that they were forced to lay off all the Syrian teachers in Zaatari camp go”.
The teacher, who preferred not to be named, added that, “such a decision will lead to increasing unemployment rates in the camp, student dropouts, and higher rates of child labour. Thus, a large number of dismissed Syrian teachers are currently thinking of returning to Syria, in spite of lacking safety and proper living conditions there ".
It is worth mentioning that the educational system in Zaatari camp has two folds. The first is based on the primary teacher, namely the Jordanian one who actually teaches children, while the role of the Syrian assistant teacher is just disciplinary.