Children staying at the Zaatari camp for displaced Syrians in Jordan were on Monday (September 17) eagerly anticipating returning to lessons, as they registered for a new school, which is due to start next week.
The school, which is operating under the supervision of the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF), is expected to accommodate some 4,000 children.
UNICEF's representative to Jordan Dominique Hyde said the excitement about resuming school brought some children back the following day.
“They are so happy. We started registering them about a week ago, and the next day they hadn't understood so well, so 700 of them appeared under a tent saying ‘we are ready for school, where are our books?’ So the excitement is there, and also for a lot of the Syrian teachers, who are living in the camp and who also want to participate in the education of their children,” Hyde told Reuters in Amman.
Syrian teachers from the camp as well as Jordanian teachers from the ministry of education will teach the curriculum, according to Hyde.
Hyde said that both the Jordanian government and UNICEF needed immediate funding to meet the “huge cost” of the school.
“But we really need funds right away. Both the government needs funds; we need funds to be able to support the cost of the teachers, the cost of the school bags, the cost of the text books, and the cost of the furniture. It’s huge costs. And we are hoping with time, maybe that we can also support schools in the area outside of the camp and see if possibly some of the children can start attending schools in the nearby areas as well.”
One thirteen-year-old says he wants Syrian teachers to teach him.
“We hope that there are going to be schools. But we also hope that as we have teachers in the camp (Syrian refugees) who know the Syrian curriculum, we hope that you will allow them to teach us, because they are the ones who know the Syrian curriculum,”
“We will so happy if you will build schools for us. We want to learn and we love to learn,” he added.
A playground has been built for children to spend time at since the camp was opened in late July.
Child refugee Samar Amirah is happily anticipating her return to school, and has already started revising for mathematics classes.
“Because I will not lose a school year, so I can learn,” said Samar when asked why she was feeling happy about returning to school.
Camp officials are working on creating prefabricated classrooms to accommodate children in winter, Hyde said.
The Zaatari camp, 80 kilometres (128 miles) north east of Amman, is home to at least 35,000 Syrian refugees who have fled the escalating violence in their country. UNICEF estimates that 50 per cent of them are children.
More than 1,000 Syrians cross to the dessert Kingdom every day through an unofficial border crossing in the northern city of Ramtha.