Diplomas Issued by Interim Government: European Recognition and Student-related Challenges

High school and middle school examinations at the schools of the Free Hama Directorate, rural Hama – June 19, 2018 (Enab Baladi)

High school and middle school examinations at the schools of the Free Hama Directorate, rural Hama – June 19, 2018 (Enab Baladi)


For years, the Syrian Interim Government has been seeking to obtain an international recognition of the high school diplomas it grants to Syrian students based in areas out of the Syrian regime’s control and those in countries of asylum.

On March 11, however, the Ministry of Education under the Interim Government announced being recognized by several European universities, in UK, Germany and Sweden, calling the students there to modify their diplomas to the equivalent of these countries’ ones with the support of concerned entities as to back their applications for government and private universities there.

Official British Recognition

In an interview with Enab Baladi, the Minister of Education of the Interim Government Imad Barq said that having the recognition of the European universities is not recent, for it started in 2017, stressing that numerous students who have obtained the high school diploma of the Interim Government have been accepted by European universities, especially in France.

UK- NARIC Foundation, a national academy affiliated with the British Government, is concerned with providing data about academic and professional qualification around the world, in addition to information about education and training systems adopted outside the UK.

The foundation has integral data about education and training systems deployed in 189 states across the world, and it offers about 9 thousand persons with the information they need to enroll in governmental and private universities on a monthly basis, as it defines itself.

Bariq added that the new thing is that the Ministry of Education has obtained an official document from NARIC foundation, in which the British academy asserts the “competence” of the high school diplomas granted by the Interim Government.

According to Barq, the academy started conducting studies on the high school exams and the curriculum of the Interim Government since 2017, and then presented the British government with a recommendation about the competency of the diplomas the Interim Government is issuing.

The Ministry of Education called Syrian students in the UK, Germany and Sweden to obtain equivalence of degrees at the Interim Government’s offices there, as to match them up with the diplomas of these states to enroll in their governmental and private universities.

Despite the Recognition: Students are Facing Problems

The majority of the students who have been granted high school diplomas in the opposition-held areas are facing difficulties in enrolling in universities outside Syria in the shadow of lacking official acknowledgment of these diplomas and the weak coordination between these universities and the Interim Government.

Talal al-Khatib, a young man from eastern Ghouta, obtained a high school diploma for the school year of 2016/2017 from the Interim Government, making him eligible for applying to the Institute of Medicine; nonetheless, with the regime’s control of Ghouta in April in 2018, he was prevented from perusing his education due to his displacement to Northern Syria and then to Turkey.

Talal told Enab Baladi that he tried to apply to Turkish universities, but he faced  several obstacles, on top of which is lacking legal documents, including the temporary protection document, kimlik, usually granted by the Turkish government to Syrian refugees, in addition to difficulties at translating the diploma and notarizing it, and several other “complicated” procedures.

However, after he obtained a “kimlik” Talal is today working on modifying his diploma to its Turkish equivalent through the Interim Government’s office in the Turkish province of Gaziantep, hoping that with this step he would be able to enroll in one of the governmental universities.

Turkey has allowed for obtaining an equivalent degree of the Interim government’s high school diploma in 2014 and until 2017 it was the only country that allowed for this.

In 2017, several European countries, including France, Germany and Sweden, allowed for the same procedures, giving Syrian students a chance to study at their universities, according to Barq.

There are no official statistics about the number of students who hold a high school diploma from the Syrian Interim Government or how many students of this segment are enrolled in non-Syrian universities.

But still, Barq told Enab Baladi that 25 Syrian students in Jordan have been granted scholarships from French universities last year.

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