Jordan signs $97.5mln grant agreements to support education sector


Amman, Aug. 22 (Petra) — The government, on Monday, signed with the British, U.S, Norwegian and Swiss governments grant agreements worth $97.5 million to support the education sector to cope with the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis.

The agreements were signed by Deputy Prime Minister for Services and Minister of Education, Mohammad Thneibat and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Imad Fakhoury, with British Ambassador to Jordan, Edward Oakden, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director in Jordan, Jim Barnhart, the Charge d’Affaires of Norwegian Embassy, Heidi Elburgi Johansen and the Charge d’Affaires of the Swiss Embassy, Terence Billeter.

In a statement after the signing ceremony, Fakhoury underlined the importance of these agreements in helping the Ministry of Education implements its “Accelerating Access for Syrian Refugee Children to Formal Education Plan.”

He also said the agreements come as part of pledges made at the “Supporting Syria and the Region Conference” held in London earlier this year and as part of the support to implementation of the Jordan Compact (specifically the education sector), which aims to support the education sector through providing the sector with $1 billion worth of grants over the next three years starting from 2016 to meet the education sector’s needs.

The Ministry of Education’s plan includes increasing the double-shift schools to reach 200 schools in host communities (excluding schools at refugee camps), accommodating up to 50,000 new Syrian children in the next scholastic year 2016/2017 that will start in September, bringing the total number of Syrian students in public schools to about 193,000.

It also includes enrolling about 25,000 Syrian children in catch-up programs, without jeopardizing the quality of education to Jordanian students, as the government is keen of not having a lost generation as this will translate negative on Jordan and local communities.

The agreements include:

* Joint Financing Agreement on the Jordan Compact Education Fund between the Government of Jordan and the Donor Group (DFID, USAID and Norway). Based on which the following will be signed:

– Memorandum of Understanding with DFID for Non Budget Support Financial Aid on the Jordan Compact Education Programme: Transforming Life Chances of a Generation of Children through Education for GBP64.3 million (US$84 million), of which GBP18 million will be disbursed this year as part of the Joint Financing Agreement.

– Bilateral Grant Agreement between the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Education regarding “The Jordan Compact Education Fund” for 10 million Norwegian Kroner (US$1.22 million).

– Project Implementation Letter between MOE and USAID on the Jordan Compact Education Fund for US$10 million.

– Grant Agreement concerning Swiss funding to implement Phase IV of the Rehabilitation of Public Schools accommodating Syrian refugee children for CHF 2.2 million (US$2.29 million).