A new look into education: how to deal with a refugee climate

By Hani Obaidat
Photography by Cesilia Faustina
Dr Jochen Pleines is the dean of German Jordan University, running the first ever refugee study program to help prepare people to work with refugees, The Social Work for Refugees and Migrations program.

Jordan is known to be one of the highest countries with the biggest refugee intakes. With camps in and outside of the cities, the Jordan Times estimated that Jordan hosted around 1.3 million refugees and has thought to increase currently. Due to this situation, many opportunities are occurring to work with refugees, which creates a working spectrum of untrained and unqualified people working in the development sector.

Dean of German Jordanian University Dr Jochen Pleines and his colleagues have started a program to help development sector workers deal with refugees and migrants on a professional basis.

The Social Work for Refugees and Migrations program is the first GJU study program for those looking to work in the development sector in handling refugees — preparing people who are looking to work within the field in Jordan and around the region.

“I started a year and a half ago when I became the dean of the school,” Dr Jochen said.

“I saw there was a huge need of qualified training and education for the people who are working with refugees and there are so many refugees here.

“Many people working with refugees are not very professional in the field.

”Our aim with this new program is for those who are willing to work with refugees where we will provide them with the necessary training, professional education, and aim to make change through education and this program.

“We want to ensure employment through the whole course and give a better future for Jordanians, Syrian refugees, and other migrants.”

The aim of the program is to try and help people to obtain jobs and ensure the right treatment towards refugees.

Being the first program of its kind, this could be a great chance for those looking to work in the development sector to gain more skills, especially with a large number of refugees in Jordan.

The latest UNHCR figures showed that the Kingdom hosts the second largest number of refugees per-capital in the world, with one in 11 people forcibly exiled.

Jordan is also the seventh largest refugee-hosting country in the world, with over 735,000 refugees and asylum seekers registered for international protection with UNHCR – across 40 nationalities.

The course consists of a two-term diploma for a one year masters program for four terms; providing professional training inside and outside the field and establishing pre-courses in English and Arabic to help social workers or anybody who is in the course for the field.

This program is under the new Department of Social Work at GJU where several universities have prepared exchange programs as well as hired lecturers and researchers.

GJU would like to help reduce the tension and confusion regarding refugees and help regard some of the issues they face.

Some of the major problems were refugees were having many medical problems – most have been traumatized – and have difficulties finding jobs as well. With this program, the GJU team hoped it would help turn things around by providing better opportunities and ensure employment.

In many ways, it will leave a positive impact.

One of their ideas was to help people who were refugees/migrants who were not in their country and could not go back anymore – help them to be well treated and not take risks on their own life.

“I want to leave a footprint and help people and create change in a wider range,” Jochen said.

Dr Jochen was hopeful the program will make a difference.


Dr Jochen Pleines is the dean of German Jordan Univeristy or GJU in Jordan. They had just launched their new Department of Social Work where they conduct teachings on how to deal with refugees and social work practice within the field. They were hoping it would help people to have better conducts towards refugees and also help the to find jobs. For more information on the program and department, check out their website.

Liked it? Take a second to support Hybris Media on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!