After two years of hard work and long hours daily of studying, Emad Bader el Deen 20 year old Syrian refugee in Jordan received his tawjihi (high school matriculation) certificate for the temporary Syrian government for the opposition Syrian coalition. With his certificate Emad was hopeful that he will find a college or a university that will allow him to take up English studies which has been his lifetime goal.
Bader painfully remembers all the obstacles he had overcome to get that certificate. After all he was born blind and has learned everything he knows by hearing about them from his mother who reads everything for him and he learned most of it by heart.
Bader Eldeen was unable to finalize his high school studies and get his certificate in Irbid after all schools rejected him because he is blind despite the fact that Jordanian law calls for integrating blind students with others after sixth grade.
Bader ElDeen took his certificate issued by the Syrian opposition coalition and tried to register at various Jordanian universities but to no avail. All higher educational institutes in Jordan told him that they don’t recognize that particular certificate. Bader was devastated. He had wasted three years for nothing. Assurances by the educational ministry of the temporary Syrian government that Jordanian universities would recognize their tawjihi issued certificate turned out untrue.
Thousands of Syrians had applied for that exam and were awarded a certificate.
The Opposition Coalition had begun giving the tawjihi exam in 2013 according to one of the organizers of the test who asked not to be identified. Syrian teachers had voluntarily helped students at Zaatari camp and other locations. They used the amended Syrian curriculum to organize special tutoring classes.
The Syrian tawjihi exam was taken after a written agreement from the Jordanian ministry of education in 2013. In the following year things became more organized. Additional training was provided three months before the exam and the exam was then given again with approval of the Jordanian ministry of education, according to Syrian educators.
As the temporary Syrian government became more organized, the ministry of education took a more serious role in the exams with the amended curriculum books being published and distributed for free to Syrian refugee students in Jordan.
By 2017, the number of students who had registered for tutoring classes has reached 3,520. They pay JD 5 or JD 10 as registration fees. This money is used to rent locations and to pay for the printed materials. In earlier years the teachers had prepared and printed the teaching material using their own funds while in later years the students paid for the printing of the curriculum and took the tests that are based on that curriculum.
The writers of this investigation met 16 Syrian students (both male and female) who had taken the test. Six of them had applied for the tawjihi exam in 2013 and 2014. They were assured by the officials of the temporary Syrian government that the certificate that they issue is recognized by the Jordanian ministry of education. It was. But those who took the certificate in 2015 and later have not had their certificate recognized by the Jordanian Ministry of education.
This report’s writers attempted to communicate with Syrian opposition official in Jordan, Hanan Ibrahim. She refused to comment or answer any of the questions about the coordination with the Jordanian and the issues of recognition of the certificate issued to those Syrian students who passed the test.
Jordanian officials were also not forthcoming. Fourteen visits were made to the ministry with no results. These visits included numerous attempts to obtain an answer from the Ministry’ spokesman Walid Jallad. The Jordanian ministry of education spokesman was nor forthcoming. All he would say was that “he knows nothing about the tests and certificate issued by the temporary Syrian government.” He suggested that the director general of the ministry Mohammad Akkour could help, but he also was not responsive and said that the questions must be asked to the ministry spokesman.
Zeidan Alaween the Jordanian director of tests was asked to comment on the exams taking place on Jordanian soil. He was also not forthcoming, referring all questions to the ministry spokesman.
Amin Muhammad Awwad the head of special education in the Jordanian Ministry of Education also said he is unaware of the situation of Syrian students taking the exam by the temporary Syrian government education officials. Again the questions were directed to the ministry spokesman who was unhelpful.
For the past four years, an educational effort is exerted, test are given, certificates are issued, money is collected to be used to print educational material all by the temporary Syrian government . All this is taking place without any supervisory role by the Jordanian ministry of education who is totally unaware of what is happening on its soil.
The original article in Arabic can be seen on http://ar.ammannet.net/news/ 280502