Read caption We paid our summer school students a visit to learn about their hopes and dreams. Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

Syrian children prepare to go back to school in Jordan

Hassan Hijazi|Published 19. Sep 2018
In Jordan, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) makes sure that Syrian refugee children have a safe learning environment, where they can forget the war and be children again. We paid our summer school students a visit to learn about their hopes and dreams.

“We want to make summer schools about both fun and education,” says Omar Sakaji, NRC’s education programme coordinator.

Our summer school programme has been operating in 15 formal public schools in the city of Irbid in northern Jordan since 2016, where children with learning difficulties – mainly Syrian refugees and Jordanian pupils – enjoy learning Arabic, English, maths, and social skills. These classes are designed to align with the Jordan Ministry of Education (MoE) curriculum. The summer school helps students and teachers interact in a child-friendly environment, where parents are welcome to join. 

       

Read caption Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

     

Popular English classes

Iman is an English teacher in Jijin Secondary school for girls. On the day of our visit, she decided to use crafts and asked her students to design birthday cards. “It was my birthday two days ago, so I was thinking, maybe we can make birthday cards for our friends, and write a message for them in English,” says Iman.

Iman’s English class is the students’ favourite subject at the summer school – the children understand the importance of learning the language.

      

Read caption Heba is nine years old and is to about to start the fourth grade. Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

   

Ambitious children

Heba is nine years old and is to about to start the fourth grade. “I am learning English because I know I will need it at some point, when I one day become a judge, and especially when I travel,” says Hiba.

      

Read caption Layla is ten years old and will start fifth grade this year.. Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

    

Layla is ten years old and will start fifth grade this year. She is very excited to tell us about her dreams. She aspires to be an architect when she finishes her education. "I love sketching and drawing buildings, so building an actual house that I drew is going to be very nice," says Layla. 

      

Read caption Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

     

"I was happy to see strong and confident girls with defined career aspirations and dreams. Sometimes we meet children who are shy and do not know how to express themselves. Heba and Layla’s artistic talents were also outstanding, that is why I felt the need to connect with them" says Lian Saifi, NRC Jordan’s acting communications coordinator.

     

Read caption Math is fun! Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

     

Making math fun!

“We all know that maths is one of the most unpleasant classes for students, but I try my best to make it fun and interactive. We play games with numbers and use drawings as a teaching method in math. This way, I believe my students will be better prepared for the new school year,” says maths teacher Manal.

     

Read caption Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

      

“Enough with classes, let’s play outside.”

Recreational outdoor activities are the students’ favourite part of the day. Walking among them while they are playing outside is a delightful experience – you hear their laughter and cheering noises in the background. Some play football, others play the rope-pulling challenge, or walk around in the playground chatting. "I won twice at rope pulling. There are many rules in this game. The teacher makes sure he keeps an eye on us so that we don’t cheat or get hurt. My friends and I are the best in this game," says Mohamad.

       

Read caption Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

     

It has been a long day for the students, full of learning and recreational activities. To help them stay focused and energised, NRC provides them with a healthy snack during the day, consisting of a banana, milk, and biscuits.

     

Read caption Khitam enrolled her son in the summer school because he needs extra attention in classes. "He is happy about the summer school. He always comes back home, excited to do his homework, which is not the case during normal school days. I believe it is because of the new facilities and the fun atmosphere they are in.” Photo: Hassan Hijazi/NRC

    

Parents’ involvement 

The school administration usually encourages parents to visit the school and take part in their children’s activities. During the visits, the parents also receive feedback from teachers about their children’s performance and needs. Most parents pass by to pick up their children from school after an exciting day.

Khitam enrolled her son in the summer school because he needs extra attention in classes. "He is happy about the summer school. He always comes back home, excited to do his homework, which is not the case during normal school days. I believe it is because of the new facilities and the fun atmosphere they are in.” 

     

NRC's summer school programme

The education in host communities project has engaged more than 6000 children in educational activities.

The overall education programme has trained more than 450 teachers in public schools and 100 Syrian refugee teachers in skills like pedagogy, school maintenance, cleaning and hygiene promotion in schools, and how to foster social cohesion.

NRC has expanded our education programme, allowing more students to enrol in formal schools nearby their homes, which reduces transportation costs and private school fees.

NRC works in close collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Education and district education offices to expand formal school facilities through construction of new classrooms, hygiene blocks and playgrounds. 

NRC provides support to formal schools to be able to meet the preconditions for better effective teaching and for learning to take place, through capacity development within formal school communities, principals and teachers, students and parents.