March 17, 2019

CHALLENGES FACED BY SYRIAN REFUGEES IN THE HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEMS OF HOST COUNTRIES AND HOW TO OVERCOME THEM. LESSONS LEARNED FROM JORDAN

Francesca Ruisi* 

The Syrian crisis has had a significant impact on most of the countries hosting Syrian refugees. Considering the lack of political solution to the war, host countries have started to develop new approaches and response frameworks to deal with the consequences of the prolonged stay of refugees. In this line, and following the London Conference on Supporting Syria and the Region in February 2016, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has shifted the approach of its refugee policy from humanitarian assistance to one oriented to empowerment (Shteiwi, 2017a). 

Against this backdrop, this policy brief aims to analyse whether and to what extent Syrian refugee students have access to higher education in Jordan. The article discusses the main challenges faced by Syrian refugees to enter, continue and conclude higher education in Jordan. Lastly, and based on lessons learned from Jordan, it provides policy recommendations on how to promote more inclusive education policies for young Syrian refugees in the host countries. 

Due to the political stalemate regarding the Syrian conflict, the common framework in terms of standard laws, regulation and inclusive practices appears to be needed not only in the Hashemite Kingdom but also in the European countries hosting and integrating young Syrian refugees in their respective social and economic contexts. The Jordan model might be considered a key case from which to take lessons and employ them in other countries facing the new challenges related to Syrian refugees entering, performing in and concluding higher education.

Challenges discussed in this article and related policy recommendations are based on research conducted by the Center for Strategic Studies (CSS) in 2018 in Jordan (Center for Strategic Studies [CSS] - University of Jordan, forthcoming). The research was based on a mixed-methods approach consisting of a survey conducted among Syrian refugee university students and a series of focus group discussions with key stakeholders (policymakers, practitioners, higher education providers, experts and NGOs involved in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis).

 To read the full policy brief please download the file above 


*Full Time Researcher, Center for Strategic Studies (CSS), University of Jordan