Cash transfer programs provide hope for vulnerable students — UNICEF study

Students supported by UNICEF’s cash transfer program get ready for school. (Photo: Handout from UNICEF)
Students supported by UNICEF’s cash transfer program get ready for school. (Photo: Handout from UNICEF)
AMMAN — A study published Tuesday suggests that cash transfer programs, such as UNICEF’s Hajati program, have increased education access among highly vulnerable Jordanian and Syrian children and adolescents in Jordan.اضافة اعلان

Initiated in 2017, the Hajati cash transfer program supports 55,000 vulnerable households, helping students “access education by enabling families to afford school supplies and transport, as well as by supporting broader household needs, such as rent and improved nutrition,” according to UNICEF.

UNICEF Jordan’s deputy representative, Shairose Mawji, said in a recent statement that the long-term effects of “dropping out-of-school, which have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic, (deprive) children of skills they need to succeed in life and traps them in a cycle of poverty, adversely impacting the country’s economic growth.”

According to the study, vulnerable Jordanian adolescents are more likely than Syrian adolescents to enroll in school, despite basic education being free and compulsory for all children, refugees included, in the Kingdom. The study also finds that Syrian girls cannot “read to a second-grade level, despite being in Grade 10,” that Syrians living in Jordan lag “half a grade behind,” and those living in “tented settlements” fall two grade levels behind, compared to their Jordanian peers.

The study brings to the table several recommendations to overcome these barriers, some of which include extending the program to secondary education students, building learning support in core subjects across all grade levels, providing disabled, adolescent girls and children with transportation, and monitoring attendance.

Mawji contended that through its cash transfer program, UNICEF strives to improve vulnerable children’s access to quality education as well as learning outcomes.

“UNICEF is committed to working with the Government of Jordan and partners to ensure that every girl and boy has equal access to quality education,” said Mawji.  “Thanks to our donors, and through the Hajati program, UNICEF has provided cash assistance to 14,000 of the most vulnerable families to enable children to access quality education and grow to their full potential.”

Read more Business