The Syrian Coalition is holding workshops to discuss education policies and the challenges facing the educational process in the liberated areas and in Syrian schools in neighboring countries.
The workshops are organized in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a nongovernmental organization that supports democratic institutions and practices across the world.
The first of three workshops on education, health and the internally displaced persons, was held on December 9-10 in Istanbul and Gaziantep. It focused on the status of education in the liberated areas across Syria as well as the Syrian schools in neighboring countries. The first workshop aimed to lay out general policy papers in collaboration with actors in the area of education. These policies are to then be adopted by the Syrian Coalition and implemented by the Syrian interim government.
Vice-president of the Syrian Coalition Samira Masalmah stressed that the educational process must not be subject to any possible negotiations with the Assad regime. She said that the Assad regime must not be allowed to interfere in education or impose certain conditions during any future negotiations. She added that this process must not be subjected to any political blackmail by the Assad regime.
Member of the Coalition’s political committee Badr Jamous said that the lack of access to education risks creating an environment where the youth is easily radicalized thereby creating a whole generation of terrorists who will pose a serious threat not only to Syria but the whole region and beyond.
Education expert Yasser Darwish highlighted the challenges facing the education process and the steps that must be taken to overcome the problems and obstacles facing it. Darwish stressed that the process must be overseen by qualified, competent experts who are prepared to put aside their self-interest.
The biggest obstacles facing education in the liberated areas and in Syrian schools in neighboring countries include the absence of regulatory bodies, nepotism, and lack of coordination, Darwish said. He pointed to the absence of a revolutionary culture among Syrian students in the diaspora. Darwish stressed the importance of e-learning in light of the constant bombardment by the Assad regime and its allies on schools in the liberated areas.
With regard the project the Coalition has launched in cooperation with education experts, expert Bassam Quatli said that the project aims to assess the status of education and identify the obstacles facing students in Syria. These obstacles include the lack of committed, qualified, and experienced teachers, many of whom migrated, lack of formal recognition of the certificates issued by the opposition, and the problem of the new language displaced people are facing in the areas controlled by the PYD militia.
Minister of Education in the Syrian interim government Imad Barq highlighted the devastation caused by the Assad regime and Russia to infrastructure across Syria. He said that over 2,700 schools have been put out of service as a result of the systematic, deliberate bombardment by the Assad regime and its allies. Despite the difficult conditions, the ministry is carrying out its duties in nine provinces across Syria, namely: Idlib, Aleppo, Damascus, Rural Damascus, Homs, Hama, Latakia, Dara’a, and Quneitra, Barq said. He said that there are 21 teaching institutes to prepare teachers in the liberated areas across Syria as well as in Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan and Iraqi Kurdistan Region. (Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office)