Fact Sheet - Refugee Education in Jordan

Queen Rania Foundation

Refugees in Jordan

Table 1. Breakdown of UNHCR-Registered Refugees by Nationality



Number of Refugees




















Source: UNHCR, 2017
  • Taking into account UNHCR-registered refugees only, Jordan has the second highest refugee-per-capita ratio in the world.[iii]
  • Of the officially registered Syrian refugees, around 80% live in host communities and the remainder in camps.[iv]
  • Around 36% of registered Syrian refugees are school-aged children.[v]   
  • Refugee students in Jordan can access education through one or more of the following: UNRWA schools, Ministry of Education (MoE) schools (in camps, single or double-shift[vi] schools in host communities), or non-formal or informal education programs.
  • The nationally-led Jordan Response Plan aims to link short-term solutions with longer-term development initiatives and policies to address the needs of those affected with the Syrian crisis.
  • Ministry of Education (MoE) schools:

  • MoE schools serve both UNRWA-registered and UNHCR-registered refugees.
  • In 2015, almost one third of UNRWA-registered Palestinian refugee children were enrolled in MoE schools.[vii] In response to the Syrian Crisis, the MoE began opening schools in camps and increasing double-shifts in others in 2011.[viii] In January 2017, UNICEF reported that 72% of registered Syrian refugee children were enrolled in formal education.[ix]
  • Camp schools: As of March 2015, the Za’atari and Azraq camps’ school enrollment rate was 67%.[x]
  • Regular MoE schools:  By the end of the 2016-2017 school year, more than 125,000 Syrian refugee children were enrolled in MoE schools.[xi]
  • Double-shift MoE schools: As of 2016-2017, around 340 MoE school buildings operated in two shifts during a school day,[xii]  receiving two separate groups of students (one in the morning, one in the afternoon).[xiii] While the majority of these schools served Jordanians, the MoE dedicated 200 shifts to Syrian students.[xiv]
  • In response to previous challenges with reduced instructional time,[xv] the MoE increased lesson length and added Saturday classes in the Jordanian-Syrian double-shift schools in 2016.[xvi]

UNRWA schools:

Non-formal and Informal Education

  • Non-formal education: Jordan has one MoE-accredited non-formal program for out-of-school adolescents who are not eligible to re-enter formal schooling for various reasons. Implemented by Questscope with a participatory learning methodology, more than 12,000 students have participated in this program since 2003.[xxii]
  • Informal education: In 2016-2017, more than 70,000 Syrian refugee students participated in informal education programs designed to help students perform better at school and give an education opportunity for those who cannot access formal education.[xxiii]
  • Makani, a UNICEF led initiative, provides children and youth not accessing formal education with learning opportunities, training and psychological support.

Education Access and Quality Challenges

  • Despite the significant efforts of the government and several international organizations to improve school enrollment, challenges remain. For example, in 2016-2017 around 85,000 officially registered Syrian refugee children were still out of school.[xxiv]
  • According to a 2016 report, lack of required documentation is a major barrier to refugee education.[xxv] The MoE has made these processes more flexible to facilitate enrollment.[xxvi]
  • A Human Rights Watch report showed that school-related costs such as transportation and child-labor still prohibit some refugee students from accessing education. Moreover, the report mentioned that some teachers in refugee camps reported not receiving any training despite its importance for serving traumatized children.[xxvii]


[ii] UNRWA. (2016). Annual Operational Report 2016 for the Reporting Period 1 January – 31 December 2016.https://www.unrwa.org/sites/default/files/content/resources/2016_annual_operational_report_web.pdf.

[iv] UNHCR. (2017). Registered Syrian in Jordan.


[v] UNHCR. (2017). Jordan Factsheet January 2017.

[vi] The double-shift schools system was first introduced in Jordan in the 1960s. Large number of such schools provides Jordanian students in both shifts with formal education. For more information see https://double-shift.org/double-shift/double-shift.

[vii] Christopherson, M. (2015). Securing Education for Syrian Refugees in Jordan.


[viii] Human Rights Watch. (2017). Jordan: Further Expand Education Access for Syrian Refugees.


[x] UNICEF. (2017). Every child reaching their potential through learning.


[xi] UNHCR. (2017). Education Sector Quarterly Report (April 2017-June-2017). https://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/download.php?id=14000.

[xiii] Bray, M. (2008). Double-shift Schooling: Design and Operation for Cost effectiveness. UNESCO.


[xiv] UNICEF. (2017). Education.

[xv] Human Rights Watch. (2016). Preventing a Lost Generation: Jordan.


[xvi] Human Rights Watch. (2016).

[xviii] Ministry of Education (MoE). (2014). Statistical Report 2014-2015 (التقرير االحصائي للعام الدراسي). http://moe.gov.jo/Files/(2-2-2017)(8-43-24%20AM).pdf.

[xix] Human Rights Watch. (2016).

[xx] World Bank. (2016). Learning in the Face of Adversity – The UNRWA Education Program for Palestine Refugees. http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/683861468000250621/pdf/100532-PUB-Box393232B-OUO-6-PUBDATE-11-11-15-DOI-10-1596978-1-4648-0706-0-EPI-146480706X.pdf

[xxi] Patrinos, H. (2016). Resilience, Refugees, and Education for Change. World Bank.


[xxii] USAID. (2017). USAID Non-Formal Education Program.              


[xxiii] UNHCR. (2017). Education Sector Quarterly Report (April 2017-June-2017).

[xxiv] UNHCR. (2017). Education Sector Quarterly Report (April 2017-June-2017).

[xxv] Human Rights Watch. (2016). Preventing a Lost Generation: Jordan.

[xxvi] Human Rights Watch. (2016). Education for Syrian Refugee Children: What Donors and Host Countries Should do. https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/09/16/education-syrian-refugee-children-what-donors-and-host-countries-should-do

[xxvii] Human Rights Watch. (2016). Education for Syrian Refugee Children: What Donors and Host Countries Should do.