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Despite high enrollment rates in public schools through the secondary level, an estimated 3,500 Jordanian students drop out every year—generally at around sixth or seventh grade. While students may drop out of school to work in support of their families, research shows that a number of “push factors” also make it hard for some students to stay in school. Many public schools are overcrowded and students must attend in shifts. Verbal and physical violence makes students feel undervalued and unsafe at school. Once students drop out, their education often has not equipped them with skills required for the work world. There are few “second chances” or alternative education programs to help them to transition back into a school environment or into gainful employment. More than half of Jordan’s working age youth are unemployed and youth represent a major part of Jordan’s growing number of urban poor.
USAID’s programs focus on improving the skills and opportunities of vulnerable youth aged 10 to 18, both in and out of school. Our programs engage local schools, parents, NGOs, community members, and the private sector to provide educational services, including literacy, career counseling, life and communication skills, mentorship, and work readiness sessions at public schools and government youth centers. These programs provide school-to-career opportunities for students in school as well as alternatives for vulnerable youth to go back to school or to access informal education programs. We also engage the Ministry of Education and other relevant government offices to help develop better policies, social services, vocational education, and strategic approaches for youth development, with a focus on the employability and engagement of youth in making their communities better places to live.
Examples of USAID-supported impacts in informal education include:
- Developed and launched a School-to-Career program in over 250 schools.
- Built the capacity of three national NGOs and 27 community-based organizations to provide youth friendly services.
- Adapted the globally certified “Passport to Success Curriculum” and established a pool of 65 community trainers to deliver core competencies in life skills that keep kids in school like team work, establishing goals, time management and confidence building.
- Launched the 2,000 Hospitality Jobs initiative with the Jordan Hospitality and Tourism Education Company to address the significant number of job vacancies in the tourism sector; and later replicated the model for the retail and gas service sectors.
- Worked with providers and instructors in the fields of life skills, literacy, business English, IT, and vocational skills training to better prepare Jordanian youth to face their future responsibilities and enhance their economic mobility.
- Engaged government decision makers, representatives of the private sector, and civil society organizations to discuss at the policy level the concerns and needs of Jordan’s youth.
Last updated: January 26, 2015