A series of reports that shed lights on the education situation in Deir Ezzor governorate.
DeirEzzor24 will be releasing a series of reports that cover the education situation in SDF-held areas and those controlled by Assad regime and Iranian militias in the Deir Ezzor governorate.
Education in Deir Ezzor has been caught between different military forces, including Assad regime and SDF who have recently established control over large swaths of lands in the oil-rich Syrian governorate.
Those forces have different agendas, structures and ideologies, but they all agree on spreading illiteracy and ignorance among the civilian populations by keeping schools shut down.
Since the Assad regime lost control over the Deir Ezor governorate , the targeting of schools has been one of its main priorities. Therefore, many schools were destroyed while the rest have been used as shelters for displaced families fleeing the clashes in their areas.
Islamist factions had the last word in Deir Ezzor when they used to control most of the areas of the governorate. At that time, Nusra Front was the main ruler along with other factions from the Syrian opposition. Education was not one of their top priorities, and thus no development programs were launched to improve it.
However, the arrival of hundreds of displaced and evacuated families from different areas in Syria to Deir Ezzor made the reopening of schools obligatory. Hence, there were many attempts to reopen schools, some of which were unsuccessful because of the ideological differences between the local councils and the military forces in control at that time, in addition to the fact that many schools had been turned into shelters.
Thus, the revolutionary forces that controlled the governorate failed in reopening and developing education. As a result, child labor on the black market became commonplace and education became an irregular thing in the life of children.
A five-year closure of the education in Deir Ezzor has given rise to an illiterate generation that will have counterproductive influence on the Deir Ezzor society.
Thirsty for education:
After the defeat of Daesh in Deir Ezzor governorate, the teachers in areas outside the organization’s control implemented a series of emergency solutions to avoid the development of an illiterate generation. For example, the teachers in Al-Shaitaat and Al-Shaheel area began gathering students and insisting the return to schools in an attempt to rehabilitate them.
The success of the teachers was manifested in the return of approximately 10 thousand children to the schools in Al-Shaheel area in the eastern Deir Ezzor countryside, as well as the return of more teachers with the aim of working as volunteers.
In the same context, a teacher in Al-Shaheel town says “ We have reopened several schools in the town since one year now. However, the schools still lack necessary equipment that offers a suitable environment for education. The available seats and blackboards are unusable, forcing students to sit down on the floor during classes. On the other hand, the teachers are forced to give lessons verbally for most of the time. ‘
The children of Al-Shaheel sitting down the floor while studying
The teacher added ‘ We have faced several obstacles, apart from the damaged buildings of schools, like the absence of suitable curriculum. Hence, some teachers have resorted to the curriculum of the Assad regime that was used in the year 2011. On the other hand, some teachers just relay on their accumulated experience in education. Some local civilians have refused to send their children to schools because of the absence of curriculum and the fact that they are valueless due to being unrecognized.
Lack of basic school equipment in Al-Shaheel city
10 thousand students return to schools in Al-Shahheel.
Mr. Abud Al-Jalil, an administrative stuff and a teacher in the region, spoke about the situation of education in the town by saying that ‘ We have 15 schools in Al-Shaheel town that have received 10000 male and female students, as well as 400 teachers. The schools are in poor conditions since their doors are broken and they are in need for more seats and blackboards. We also should not forget that winter is coming. We do not have curriculums and we are in need for motivational and material supports, as well as the psychological one. We need everyone to cooperate with us on education.
He added ‘The main obstacles we are facing concerning education in Al –Shaheel are the absence of curriculum and the fact that parents are not sending their children to schools due to the absence of material support and the bad conditions of the classrooms.
Concerning the salaries of the teachers, he indicated that ‘We worked as volunteers for several months and did not receive any kind of support. However, we are now paid 49000 SYP, which equals 100 USD. The salaries are paid by Al-Anora organization and delivered to us by the local council, which is affiliated with the Self-Rule Administration. ‘