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BorderWatch:Jordan
Fleeing Iraq
Jordan Opens Schools to 50,000 Iraqi Children
Government Finalizes Plans to Allow Refugees Access to Public Schools
08/08/2007 6:17 PM ET
AL RUWAYSHID, JORDAN - APRIL 4: A group of children draw together at the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Society refugee camp some 75 km from the Iraqi border in Al Ruwayshid, Jordan.
Marco di Lauro/Getty
AL RUWAYSHID, JORDAN - APRIL 4: A group of children draw together at the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Society refugee camp some 75 km from the Iraqi border in Al Ruwayshid, Jordan.

The Jordanian education system is bracing for an influx of possibly 50,000 new students when classes begin August 19, after the government this week finalized plans to allow Iraqi refugee children without residency papers to attend public schools.

Until now, only private schools would accept Iraqi refugees without papers, though that educational choice was prohibitively expensive for most of the population. Jordan announced last month during the neighbors meeting hosted in Amman that it planned to open up its educational system to Iraqi refugees.

"The decision came in response to the humanitarian situation the Iraqis are going through. It is meant to ensure the Iraqi children's access to education," Managing Director of General Education and Student Affairs Mohammad Okour told The Jordan Times Tuesday.

The UN recently highlighted the dire state of Iraqi refugee children's education, appealing to the international community two weeks ago to contribute much-needed funds to assist host countries in expanding their educational system to absorb the thousands of Iraqi students.

The financial assistance will be appreciated, as Okour said the decision to provide education for Iraqi students will add a heavy to the burden to Jordan's educational system, and add to the already overcrowded classrooms. The ministry was looking into options to the issue, he said.

"There are short- and long-term solutions. We will begin first recruiting more teachers, renting buildings for opening new schools and returning to the double-shift system in schools," Okour said.

According to the official, the ministry will examine options for areas with relatively high Iraqi population to decide what solutions are most feasible for each neighborhoods.

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