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Cablegate: Iraqis in Jordan Enrolling at a Moderate Pace;

VZCZCXRO9464
PP RUEHBC RUEHDA RUEHDE RUEHIHL RUEHKUK
DE RUEHAM #3871/01 2601552
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171552Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY AMMAN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0341
INFO RUCNRAQ/IRAQ COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 AMMAN 003871

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA AND PRM

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREF SOCI EAID IZ JO
SUBJECT: IRAQIS IN JORDAN ENROLLING AT A MODERATE PACE;
FOCUS SHIFTING TO HEALTH NEEDS

REF: A. AMMAN 3754
B. AMMAN 3545

1. (U) SUMMARY: Iraqi enrollment in Jordanian schools
reached 21,000 as of September 15, with the GOJ agreeing to
extend enrollment through September 30. No consensus has
emerged to fully explain the low enrollment totals. UN
agencies and NGOs are actively engaged in a last-ditch effort
to clarify any misunderstandings so as to encourage
enrollment. Meanwhile the UN and the GOJ are beginning to
shift focus towards addressing challenges facing the health
sector. UNHCR and the Ministry of Planning intend to amend
their $10 million agreement on education assistance (ref b),
while USAID and UNICEF conduct a qualitative survey to inform
relief efforts. END SUMMARY.


EDUCATION
---------

2. (U) Following what was to have been the final day of
school registration for Iraqis on September 15, the Jordanian
Ministry of Education (MoE) reported that 21,000 Iraqi
students had enrolled in Jordanian public schools,
representing an increase of 7,000 over last year's
registrants. At the request of UNHCR, the MoE agreed to
extend the registration period until September 30. Local and
regional press carried news of the decision on September 14
and 15. Meanwhile, UNHCR, UNICEF, and NGOs received MoE and
Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC)
permission to conduct a last-ditch public information
campaign directed at Iraqis registered with UNHCR and other
Iraqi recipients of NGO services in Jordan.

3. (U) USAID and contractor CDM have begun visiting schools
in East Amman, where an estimated 150 additional classrooms
will be constructed with USG funds. Site selection is
expected to continue through September. School construction
remains on track to begin in January 2008.

4. (SBU) Several NGOs have confirmed to poloff the limited
numbers of Iraqi student enrollment. Note: Initial estimates
of expected enrollment revolved around the figure of 50,000.
End note. NGOs claimed to poloff that less Iraqis are
enrolled because some schools have reached capacity and are
not maintaining waiting lists. Save the Children, for
example, identified 20 schools that have no additional
capacity. Both Save the Children and Mercy Corps report that
the decision to maintain a waiting list as directed by the
MoE is being made by school principals. In the absence of
waiting lists, schools reportedly suggest that Iraqi
registrants approach other schools. Relief International
reported that some Iraqi children are also dropping out after
discovering that the differences in curriculum make it
difficult for Iraqi students to assimilate into the Jordanian
system.

5. (SBU) According to minutes of a September 13 meeting
between UNHCR, MOPIC, and MOE, the latter has formalized an
education task force comprising MOE managing directors and
the MOPIC. No UN agency will be a standing member of this
body, but MOE reports that UNHCR and UNICEF will be invited
to participate as needed.

6. (SBU) NGOs continue to report that not all schools have
received the Ministry of Education's September 3 letter
outlining procedures for enrolling Iraqi students and waiving
school and textbook fees. Save the Children told poloff that
6 out of 10 headmasters or headmistresses they called on
September 10 had not received the letter. The MOE reportedly
told UNICEF and UNHCR representatives that they will handle
the issue on a case by case basis.

HEALTH
------

7. (SBU) On September 12, Ambassador Hale met with Salah
Al-Mawajdeh, the newly appointed Health Minister, and
highlighted the importance of healthcare for displaced
Iraqis. Al-Mawajdeh committed to stay actively engaged.

8. (U) UNICEF and USAID are in the process of conducting a
qualitative survey of the health situation of displaced
Iraqis in Jordan over the next 90 days. At present, very
little qualitative data is available because patients are not
requested to provide details of their nationality when health
care is provided. In addition, USAID plans to spend $2.3
million in facility renovations in East Amman and Zarqa -
areas where there are many Iraqi refugees - focusing on safe

AMMAN 00003871 002 OF 002


motherhood and neonatal care facilities.

9. (U) UNHCR told emboff on September 16 that UNHCR and MOPIC
plan to revise their $10 million education agreement (ref b)
to incorporate a health component whereby UNHCR would provide
funds to cover additional staffing, supplies and equipment
incurred by the MOH in providing care to Iraqis. The parties
are also exploring the feasibility of waiving certain health
fees that may limit Iraqi access to facilities and services.


ADMISSIONS
----------

10. (SBU) The most recent DHS circuit ride finished on
September 13 after the six-member team interviewed almost 200
cases comprising approximately 525 individuals. Based on
these interviews, approximately 69 percent were conditionally
approved, 19 percent were denied, and 11 percent were either
"no decision" or remain pending with DHS for further review.
Six percent of the total scheduled caseload did not appear
for their interviews. DHS plans to conduct its next circuit
ride from October 17 to December 5.

11. (SBU) As of September 12, the consular section in Embassy
Amman had issued nearly 200 Special Immigrant Visas to
qualified Iraqi translators. There were an additional 125
interviews scheduled before the end of the fiscal year in
Amman alone.

Hale

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