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Research Questions

  1. To what extent has the Emergency Education Programme achieved its objectives in providing formal education in camps and host communities, alternative programmes, supportive programmes and systems, and in minimising the impact on the Jordanian host community?
  2. Did the Programme provide equitable access to appropriate education and promote quality learning environments, meeting the needs of vulnerable Jordanians and Syrians?
  3. Did the Programme maximise efficiency in the planning, coordination and alignment of activities, and deliver value for money?
  4. Were cross-cutting issues, such as gender, protection, health, nutrition, WASH and child rights, successfully integrated into Programme planning and delivery?

The Emergency Education Response Programme (EER), launched by UNICEF, the Government of Jordan and partners in 2012, aims to provide free public formal education, as well as safe and appropriate supportive educational services, for Syrian refugee children living in Jordan. RAND's evaluation identified significant successes as well as longer-term challenges, related to education access and quality and programme planning and coordination. The Programme's first responses to the Syrian refugee crisis were designed to meet immediate education needs, enabling many children to enrol in school. However, as the crisis has continued, medium-term, strategic efforts and planning have lagged behind events on the ground. Although the EER has successfully provided access to public education for 130,000 Syrian children, at least 97,000 remain out of formal school. Increasing Syrian access to formal education, as well as ensuring high-quality schooling for both Syrian refugees and Jordanian host communities, will require more attention. The Programme has also provided NGO-managed alternative education to 35,000 Syrian children. While they were reported to provide quality, child-centered, flexible education, they have lacked a full-time, structured curriculum and a coherent quality monitoring, and clear pathways for entry into formal education. Effective planning and coordination has been strengthened by improved data on implementing partners' activities. However, little evidence was found that planning decisions were being made on the basis of evaluating and comparing options. Key recommendations based on evaluation findings concern developing medium-term thinking, expanding public education, improving double-shifted schools and targeting gendered challenges, among others.

Key Findings

The Emergency Education Response Programme has achieved considerable successes.

  • The achievements of the EER are considerable, including large scale, multi-stakeholder mobilisation to provide access to formal education for 130,000 Syrian children within Jordan's public system and informal and non-formal education for 35,000 children.

Significant and urgent challenges remain related to access and quality.

  • Some 40 per cent of children (97,000) still do not have access to formal education, and many of those who do experience difficult classroom environments. Overcrowding, decreased instructional times in double-shifted schools and inadequate teacher training all inhibit learning.

Alternative education programmes are valued, but require standardisation and pathways for progression.

  • While alternative programmes delivered by NGO partners provide flexible education to 35,000 Syrian refugee children, they lack a full-time and structured curriculum, standardised measures of quality and a clear pathway into formal education.

Gendered challenges persist for boys and girls.

  • Efforts around gender mainstreaming and capacity building, enhanced coordination and disaggregated reporting, show that gender is a priority. However, crucial gaps remain: programmatic focus is still overwhelmingly on outreach and support for girls, undervaluing the severe challenges boys face, such as high rates of child labour and low classroom engagement.

Moving out of the 'emergency' phase.

  • Focusing on immediate education needs has enabled significant successes in terms of education access and roll-out of services, however as it becomes clear that the EER will have a continuing role over the medium term, the question of its sustainability is more urgent.


  • Build upon significant accomplishments, in terms of Syrian access to public schooling and stakeholder expertise.
  • Develop and implement a medium-term strategy (including funding), with emphasis on building Jordanian government capacity to manage into the future.
  • Expand public formal education, with provision at scale for children who have missed years of school.
  • Improve the performance of double-shifted schools to meet the needs of both Jordanians and Syrians.
  • Improve the quality and safety of school learning environments.
  • Target the different gendered challenges facing girls and boys.
  • Ensure planning involves options analysis and takes uncertainty into consideration.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was prepared for UNICEF and conducted by RAND Europe.

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