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Rural Aleppo: Educational Projects under Consideration

The school year of 2018 begins in the northern countryside of Aleppo – October 2017 (Enab Balad)

The school year of 2018 begins in the northern countryside of Aleppo – October 2017 (Enab Balad)

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The students in the northern countryside of Aleppo are waiting for the results of the educational projects that are being considered by the area’s committees and the Turkish Ministry of Education; the projects aim at developing the educational process in the “Euphrates’ Shield” areas and to contribute to resolving the problem of the area’s degrees that are not being acknowledged.

In his interview with Enab Baladi, Mustafa Jasem, the Director of the Educational Office at Jarabulus Local Council, said that educational projects that target the students in the northern countryside of Aleppo have been studied since the beginning of May, on top of which is the recognition of degrees, pointing out that the educational council have already submitted projects and proposals to Turkey concerning the upcoming phase.

Two Ways to Attain Recognition of Degrees

The Turkish Ministry is discussing tow methods as to attain recognition of the Syrian degrees to adopt one of them, according to the Director of the Office; the first is through the “Maarif Vakfı” that is recognized by 57 countries around the world, or through the documentation of the degrees through the Ministry itself, which is a “difficult” thing to do.

The process, if adopted, would include this year’s students and those to come, while it does not apply to previous years.

According to Turkish media outlets and the local councils in northern Aleppo, Gaziantep University approved the opening of a vocational higher education institute on 25 April with the approval of the Higher Education Council of Turkey, but Jasem points out that no formal decision has been made by the Education Council.

Jasem expects that the features of the new educational reality in the area will start to appear in a month, explaining that all the education-related issues will be addressed once the high school exams are finished, which has been decided to take place on June 19.

The University of “Harran” in the Turkish state of Urfa is studying the opening of branches in the region or in Gaziantep or other Turkish cities to receive the Syrians, according to Jasem. He points out that 234 students from northern Aleppo applied for the “YÖS” assessment exam at the university, which accepts the degrees issued by the “Coalition” and the older degrees that have been issued by the Syrian regime.

This year, 300 students will undertake general secondary school examinations in Jarabulus and its countryside, according to the director of the educational office. He pointed out that Jarabulus includes more than 27 thousand students of all stages, out of more than 120 thousand who are in the “Euphrates’s Shield” schools, including the students who have been displaced from Ghouta and Homs.

At the end of 2017, education officials in northern Aleppo discussed the possibility of opening branches of the Turkish universities of Kilis and Gaziantep in the region, without any further steps in the file. Turkish language has been included since September 2017 within the modified Syrian curriculum in the region.

In the same context, Turkey supported the opening of the Directorate of Education in the town and a Center for Popular Education. Mustafa Najjar, head of the educational authority in Suran and its rural areas, said that the center is the first in the region, explaining to Enab Baladi that it organizes courses in several fields, calligraphy, painting, handicrafts, wool-based crafts, men and women hairdressing, and Turkish language.

Students in the region are fidgeting about the educational process, for according to their description, it is difficult to complete studying in Turkey, due to the financial situation and the difficulty of communicating in Turkish. Many students went to work to support their families, according to a poll conducted by Enab Baladi earlier this year.

According to students from the area, making a decision about launching a branch for any recognized international university in the area, let it be Turkish or European, is a trigger or an “effective” step if it was to be realized; it will also help in graduating competencies to contribute in the reconstruction process.

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