An Educational Quagmire

35,000 Non-Jordanian students are about to be de-enrolled from the next academic year in Jordanian public schools as the Ministry of Education has decided recently to alleviate the pressures of over crowding and the burden of financial expenses. Right now these students cost the state 14 million JDs.

Most of these non-Jordanians are Arab students living in Jordan (especially Iraqis). They now have to enroll in private schools where their parents will have to pay, and get residency permits.

The few exceptions are Gazans who carry the 2 year temporary passports and will have the choice to either enrol in public or private schools. Syrian, Egyptian and Yemeni nationals without residency permits can enrol in private schools, as long as their parents have work permits.

â??In August 2005, the Interior Ministry issued instructions prohibiting Arab students from enrolment in both public and private schools unless they or their parents were holders of permanent residency permits. Officials said the decision was taken to regulate the situation of non-Jordanian students in the Kingdom’s schools.

The ministry expects the number of foreign students, especially Iraqis, to rise over the coming years in light of the extent of Iraqi investment in the Kingdom. [source]

Jordan has been home to all Arabs, especially in recent years. The problem however becomes more about the extent of hospitality. Should non-Jordanians be allowed to “benefit” from public schools that are virtually cost free on the tax payer’s dime, or forced to pay for education they might be able to afford?


  • Shaden, I’m guessing though that the iraqis or non-Jordanians who can’t afford private education are forced to attend public, otherwise they’d put their kids in private schools.

  • There are Egyptian workers in Jordan who have their families with them. Workers who get paid the minimum wage to support themselves, their spouses and sometimes a child or two (I knew more than one of these cases). I imagine it’s almost impossible for such people to afford any kind of private education for their kids, at least in the neighborhoods they probably live in; if we’re talking about a janitor in a building in Umm Uthaina or Sweifeyyeh as an example.

    The news quote refers to “perminant residency permits”, but what I recall from any conversation in Jordan about foreign labor and permits is that people always refer to “labor permits”, which can be a completely different thing.

    I really wish there would be some kind of agreement between Arab countries in the region on some kind of “regional budget”, something that would establish the equivalent to “federal funding” in the US. This way no matter which country an Arab person is in, they wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to send their kids to school. And who knows, maybe this kind of plan could solve other problems too like health, housing, job security, etc.

    I think the government already did the right thing in recognizing that there is a problem, and I think this is a good, harsh but necessary, temporary solution. I really want to see our government working closer with other nations in the region (like Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, UAE, Qatar, etc.) on establishing some kind of platform that would successfully address these problems.

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