Author: Mona Christophersen
Full Citation: Christophersen, M. (2015). Educating Syrian youth in Jordan: Holistic approaches to emergency response. New York: International Peace Institute.
Overview: The Syrian crisis has disrupted education trajectories for Syrian youth both inside and outside Syria. The lack of learning opportunities further destabilizes the lives of young refugees, making them more vulnerable to various forms of exploitation and susceptible to extremist ideologies. These risks are widely recognized, resulting in a new focus on education as part of the medium- to long-term response to emergency situations. But education programming tends to focus on younger children and basic education, leaving out the education needs of youth (a contested concept, but commonly defined as 15- to 24-year-olds). This study attempts to bridge this gap by focusing on education for Syrian youth in Jordan. This report will focus on three main topics:
- Challenges for Syrian adolescents and youth identified by service providers in Jordan
- Educational challenges identified by Syrian youth themselves and their families
- How youth programming can be improved as part of an emergency response
Findings: The experience of Syrian refugee youth in Jordan highlights three lessons for improving education and youth programming in emergency responses:
- Youth programming needs a holistic approach. Emergency responses should develop a youth strategy placing the needs of youth at the center and address their connection to other coordination areas such as education, health, and livelihoods. This could take place through youth taskforces at the local, national, or even regional levels.
- Minimum standards for refugee education programs should be established from the start of an emergency. Such standards could tie into an international system for certifying learning achievements.
- A holistic approach to education in emergencies also has to include a transition plan for what will happen next in refugee graduates’ lives. This could include long-term vocational training, income-generating projects, and opening particular employment sectors to refugees.