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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Jordanians open schools to Iraqis
Internally displaced Iraqi refugees
More than two millions Iraqis have been displaced by violence
The Jordanian government has announced that all Iraqi children living in the country will be able to go to government schools for the first time.

There are around three-quarters of a million Iraqi refugees in Jordan.

Families are now rushing to get school places for their children before the next academic year begins in less than two weeks.

The children of Iraqis who are in the country illegally will also be allowed to attend state schools.

Iraq's ambassador in the Jordanian capital, Amman, Saad Hayani, welcomed the decision.

He said it would resolve "one of the Iraqi community's main problems".

Only relatively few Iraqis in Jordan have been able to get a formal education - those who are from families with residency permits or those rich enough to send their children to private schools.

BBC Amman correspondent Crispin Thorold says the decision is a huge relief for thousands of Iraqis who often complain about official discrimination in Jordan.

Many families have tried to school their children at home. Others have had no formal education since they fled Iraq.

The United Nations will work with the Jordanian government to help schools enrol up to 50,000 Iraqis before the start of the next academic year.


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