Jordan's schools .. Debt burden on families and forced transfer to public schools
With a broad smile, students return to their schools, while loans and debts pile up on their parents to secure school supplies such as tuition, stationery, uniforms and the list goes on.
What is striking in this school year is that of the case of “forced migration” from private schools to public schools, a migration that forced parents to forcibly transfer their children from private schools with educational privileges and hotel service to public schools.
The reasons for this migration vary, but the most influential factor is the difficult economic conditions experienced by Jordanians, high school fees, uniforms and books in private schools, which hinders students and their private schools.
Loans and leverage
There are two types of indebtedness: distressed families are owed to meet the necessary governmental or UNRWA schools' requirements, and families who are better off than their predecessors are indebted to paying their children's fees in private schools.
The return to school on September 1 came after the completion of the Eid al-Adha costs, which drained financial incomes and salaries for Jordanians, forcing families to borrow from banks or financial institutions, borrowing or arranging financial associations to secure school requirements.
Pentecost Jawad Alami and his wife roam around school bags and stationery carrying lists of applications.
"The prices of stationery and the veil are affordable for everyone, and the malls offer offers at the lowest prices, but salaries are not enough," Alami told Al Jazeera Net when meeting with a mall.
`` The cost of returning to schools is draining our salaries, forcing me to borrow.Life is expensive and my applications are high.My wife and I are government employees, and I have extra work, and unfortunately all of this to pay the obligations of home, car and other installments, even the boys transferred them from private schools to government. ''
|Students in a school activity class at an UNRWA school in Baqa'a camp north of the capital Amman (Al-Jazeera)|
The mother of orphans Tamam Odeh (45 years) supports a family of six children after the departure of her husband, all in school. She did not buy bags and stationery for her children, because "charities gave us," as well as sneakers and school uniforms for girls.
But the students - she tells Al-Jazeera Net - need a daily expenses and sandwiches, "I try to secure from my work in the preparation of food for the wealthy families."
During the school return season, charities and trade unions organize campaigns to distribute school bags, used and new clothes and stationery to needy students in government and UNRWA schools.
A bank employee, Mustafa Al-Ati, is better off than his predecessors. He kept two of his younger children in a private school and moved their older brothers to a public school, attributing it to "higher school fees and higher living costs."
Private schools, in an effort to retain their students, provided a range of facilities for parents, including the installment of annual fees over ten months, and others provided discounts for brothers and outstanding and memorizers of the Koran, including those who did not increase the value of school fees, and only increased the fees of transport, uniforms and books.
Rise without an officer
Activists have launched a campaign on Facebook, which they called a "supplied" campaign against rising prices of books, uniforms and tuition in private schools.
The issue of raising school fees does not have an officer or specific grounds, according to the captain of the owners of private schools Munther Sourani of the island Net, each school has its own classification of A, B, C, and D, and can increase its annual fees and prices of school uniforms and transport according to the service provided to students.
|Increasing demand for school uniforms with the opening of the school year (Aljazeera-archive)|
Sourani sees the transfer from private to public schools as "a normal situation that takes place every year", attributing the reason to the economic conditions of Jordanian families, changing family housing, and the mood of parents in transferring students from a private school to another private or government.
Nearly 2 million students are enrolled in Jordanian and UNRWA schools, including 200,000 in the first grade.
The Ministry of Education, in the face of this "great departure", has stepped up its preparations by providing more schools as a result of the natural increase in the number of students each year and the increasing number of students moving from private to public schools.
The ministry provided the appropriate study environment, according to the director of information in the ministry Walid al-Jallad, and the requirements of the study process of human cadres, textbooks, school furniture and others.
Al-Jallad told Al Jazeera Net that the number of students transferred from private schools to the government amounted to the end of last Thursday about 30 thousand students, expected to increase the number.
The ministry did not overlook its interest in kindergartens and increased its classrooms. Last year, about 104,000 children attended kindergartens in the Kingdom's private and public schools.
|Students and their teacher at the science laboratory in a private school north of Amman (Al-Jazeera-archive)|