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Jordan: US$700 million to Boost Human Capital and Strengthen the Education and Skills Sector

Two new programs will support targeted investments in education, health and social protection 

AMMAN, July 1, 2024 — The World Bank Group approved two new programs aimed at strengthening Jordan’s human capital through targeted investments in education, health and social assistance, and promoting the resilience of Jordanian households. With a combined financing of US$700 million, the Jordan Human Capital Program and the Jordan: Modernizing Education, Skills, and Administrative Reforms (MASAR) Program, aim to drive sustainable and inclusive growth, enhance education quality, and better equip the youth with the skills needed for the jobs of the future.

Over the past years, Jordan's resilience in an increasingly volatile region has been commendable, but external shocks have impacted economic growth and job creation, and hampered progress in tackling pressing socio-economic challenges. With over 66% of its population under 30, Jordan has a unique opportunity to benefit from its demographic dividend for development and growth.  Yet gaps remain in education access, particularly for early childhood education, further investments are needed to improve education quality, and to revitalize and expand technical and vocational education and training (TVET) for future jobs. The high prevalence of risk factors such as smoking, and the growing burden of non-communicable diseases lead to increased morbidity, reduced productivity, and lower job market participation. Despite the impressive progress made by the government of Jordan in expanding its Social Protection programs, particularly non-contributory programs such as the cash transfer program, significant coverage gaps remain in the social protection system, with a third of Jordanian workers still lacking access to social security. 

To achieve its development ambitions, Jordan will need to harness its greatest potential asset — its human capital, particularly its youth and women,” said Jean-Christophe Carret, World Bank Country Director for the Middle East Department. “By further investing in education, health, and social protection, Jordan can strengthen the resilience of its economy and make it more inclusive. These efforts will ensure that the young population, particularly women and the most vulnerable, can fully participate in and benefit from the Kingdom’s growth and development.” 

The Jordan Human Capital Program (US$300 million) aims to improve the governance and effectiveness of social sectors to ensure better and more sustainable outcomes for all Jordanians, and promote resilience including safeguarding households from the adverse effects of climate change. The program supports results-oriented, cost-effective service delivery and focuses on further improving the governance and accountability of public spending in key sectors, namely: education (the most important sector for equipping young Jordanians with the skills needed to grow the economy); health (responsible for a substantial share of arrears despite the regular injection of funds); and social assistance (whose cash transfer program is among the most progressive and effective at reducing inequality and poverty).

The MASAR Program — Pathways in Arabic — (US$400 million, inclusive of a US$7 million grant from the Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF)) aims to equip Jordan’s children and youth with relevant skills for the labor market and the country’s ongoing economic transformation. The program focuses on three key areas: 1) improving home-to-school transitions and increasing access to foundational learning; 2) enhancing school-to-work transitions and expanding access to labor market-relevant TVET; and 3) improving the efficiency of the education system and human resources management. MASAR also includes a technical assistance and capacity building component to support the government in the implementation of the program and critical reforms.

By 2029, MASAR is expected to achieve significant milestones, including enrolling 25,000 additional students in KG2, ensuring 4,200 KG classrooms meet minimum quality standards, and enrolling 150,000 students in grades 1-3 in targeted programs to improve foundational skills. It aims to graduate 50,000 students from accredited TVET programs in priority sectors and ensure 70% of civil servant teachers and school leaders are recruited through a new competency-based mechanism. The program will also benefit refugees and contribute to the 2024-2026 Jordan Response Plan for the Syrian Crisis.

The Jordan Human Capital and MASAR Programs are fully aligned with Jordan’s own reform priorities outlined in the Economic Modernization Vision and Public Sector Modernization roadmap 2023-2025. They prioritize human capital and support the implementation of the ambitious ‘Smart Jordan’ driver. The MASAR program further aligns with the World Bank's ongoing support for education and public sector reforms in Jordan. It builds on previous achievements and aims to create a more efficient, inclusive, and responsive education system. 


About the Global Concessional Financing Facility:

The Global Concessional Financing Facility (GCFF), established in 2016, provides concessional financing to middle income countries hosting large numbers of refugees. To date, the GCFF has provided Jordan with US$599 million in grants which enabled US$3.3 billion in loans on concessional terms to help the country address the impact of the refugee influx. The GCFF contribution made available under the MASAR program was provided by the Government of Japan.



In Washington:
Ashraf Al-Saeed
In Amman:
Nabeel Darweesh


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