Syria is experiencing a great disaster. Millions of people have fallen into refugee status inside and outside the country. Education is a crucial issue that needs to be evaluated among many aspects of the crisis. Due to war and migration, millions of children have been deprived of right to education and there has been a great pessimism about the future of Syria.
If we care about the future of Syria, the most important thing to be done in this regard is to provide necessary material and spiritual support so that the future generations in Syria will not to be lost. It is with this educated generation that Syria will be rebuilt and will be able to look at the future with hope.
Principles that must be implemented
1- Education of all Syrian students
The international community is already carrying out projects to support the Syrian students in refugee status in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, and to regulate and support their education. At this point, considering Turkey as a bridge, the supply of training equipment and the preparation of curriculum by the Turkish Ministry of Education and civil society should be planned.
2- Education of successful Syrian students
Successful students should always be the priority of education and should be supported individually. Therefore, promising students must be specially selected and a particular attention should be given to their education.
3- Positive discrimination towards the Syrians
Some privileges to Syrian students in Turkey, especially in university education, must be recognized. While international students from other countries are relatively abler to find possibility of studying in their country, Turkey is the only hope for thousands of Syrians. Therefore, in material support and scholarships a special quota should be granted for Syrian students.
4- Religious aspect of education
In the present conflict in Syria, while Assad is secular, the people remain religious. Therefore, the religious sensitivities are in the foreground for the Syrian fighting opposition. Moreover, the atmosphere of war has revealed an Islamic air among Syrian people. For these reasons, the religious aspect of education should be attributed a particular emphasis. Furthermore, the alliance between two nations can be possible only through with religion. At this point, the Islamic rule “Verily, Believers are brothers” should be our motto.
5- Getting support from NGOs
It is particularly essential to train students who are helpful and loyal to their people and whole humanity. This work should be done through civil initiatives with religious consciousness. History has shown us that everything has corrupted unless controlled. Therefore, in addition to material assistance to the Syrians, religious and moral development must be ensured. Besides, through NGOs, students can be given a better religious education. In this way, a generation with high morality that would be helpful to their country and nation can be raised.
Problems of and proposals for Elementary and High Schools
1- The lack of quality of teachers: The conditions given below lead to the lack of quality of teachers:
- The teachers are paid low wages.
- The Ministry of National Education wants the copy of the diploma but certain people may change the names written on the diplomas and may become teachers with fake diplomas. Again, certain people can apply for the job with diplomas that are provided by the market.
- Doctors, lawyers and engineers who are not qualified to become teachers are accepted as teachers.
- Especially in high schools, there are lots of lessons but, for example, some of them are taught two hours a week. Separate teachers cannot be provided for those lessons. Due to this, many lessons that have low hours in a week are given by the same teacher. For example, the verbal lessons such as history and geography may be given by same teachers.
Proposal: The opportunity to choose their own teachers among candidates should be provided for schools in order to increase the quality. However, in order to solve these problems genuinely, radical solutions are needed. All students should be brought together and be given education in big schools and for that, mobile education should be implemented. Until radical solutions are obtained, students should be able to take lessons which have low hours in a week and from whoever they want with no charges.
2– The inadequacy of school, the lack of schooling and the problem of attendance
- Now, Syrian schools are not enough. Education is given in specific centres of Turkish schools and these centres are not everywhere. This leads to many Syrians not go to those centres for education due to travelling costs.
- Syrian families are not able to send their children to schools due to their poverty. This condition leads to problems in the schooling of Syrians and their attendance to schools.
1) The number of immigrant schools should be increased.
2) The schools of NGOs should be supported by subsidizing students per person and the support of civil initiatives should be increased in this issue. This will seriously enhance the schooling and attendance in the immigrant schools. This will provide opportunities for the civil initiatives to carry out studies on families.
3) Scholarship should be provided for successful students, especially those in schools of NGOs.
4) Monthly food aid packages should be given to the families of the students in schools through municipalities and other NGOs. Many organizations provide aid for Syrian families. However, delivering these aids to the families through students will enhance the schooling.
3- Lack of educational material: There are no educational materials such as pencils, rulers, and maps in Syrian schools.
Proposal: These schools should be supported in terms of educational materials.
- Turkish Courses: Students are very pleased with Turkish courses.
Proposal: The number of Turkish courses in a week should be increased.
- Religion Courses: The number of this course is two hour per week and is not enough.
Proposal: The number of religion courses should be increased. Providing NGOs with support is also important for the enhancement of religious education. In addition, a comprehensive book for the course on religion should be prepared.
- Mistakes in the Books: The books were written in the times of Asad regime and are full of mistakes about Turks and Ottomans.
Proposal: All books, especially history books, should be analyzed and mistakes should be corrected.
- Introductory Book: Turkey should transfer its own advocacy and rightful claims to the new generation of Syria. For this reason, there is a need for an introductory book and specific a course.
Proposal: An introductory book should be prepared. In this book;
1) The brotherhood of Arabs and Turks,
2) The service of Turks for Islam in the past,
3) The service of Turkey for Islam in present and its rightful claims,
4) The mutual history of Arabs and Turks should be explained.
- The differences in the curricula of Turkish and Syrian schools: There is almost a two-year difference between Turkish and immigrant schools; that is, Syrian schools are two years behind the Turkish schools.
Proposal: The curricula of both schools should be equated.
5- Support for the schools of NGOs: There is a need for civil action for the immigrant Syrian people. NGOs are important partners for that aim. In this respect, NGOs should be backed. Especially successful students may be canalized to the schools of NGOs. In addition, because they are better in following up the students’ courses and their processes of improvement, the percentage of success in the university entrance exams is higher in the schools of NGOs.
1) There may be an assistant for every student.
2) The schools of NGOs may be supported in terms of expenses such as rentals and materials.
3) Or, classrooms from public schools may be allocated to NGOs to be used as part of their schools.
4) Food packages may be prepared for the families of students.
* This is an abstract from “Syria Education Report 2015” published by Hayrat Humanitarian Aid Association based in Istanbul, Turkey. (www.hayratyardim.org)