Military Escalation In Idlib Hampers Education

Internally displaced children based in Camp Atmeh at the Turkish border – May 2019 (Enab Baladi)

Internally displaced children based in Camp Atmeh at the Turkish border – May 2019 (Enab Baladi)


“I took the exams of all the school courses, except for Arabic, for the shelling began and we had to flee the village.”

Mohammad al-Hassan said, a six grader who have been displaced along with his family from the Kafar Aweed village, southern rural Idlib, to the Camp al-Qla’a/Castle near the Sarmada town, on the Turkish borders.

Mohammad, who skipped the last school year, might not have the chance to enroll in school for the upcoming year, which is to start in less than a month.

Telling Enab Baladi, he said that the majority of the schools available are far from the camp, where he lives, which might cost him another year out of middle school.

Mohammad is to be added to the 90 thousand children deprived of education in Syria’s north during the last school year due to the military campaign launched by the Russia-backed Syrian regime against the area, Mohammad al-Hussian, deputy director of the Idlib Education Directorate, stressed.

Interviewed by Enab Baladi, al-Hussain added that “the Directorate sought to establish centers for the unofficial education, as to compensate the students for the classes they missed,” but Mohammad could not join any school, official or unofficial.


Common suffering

Mohammad and other children at the Camp al-Qala’a, affiliated with the Sarmada town, are brought together by the same burden, the desire to resume their education. The parents, however, share the fear for their children’s future.

“My son was the best student at his school, but he could not take the chemistry and physics exams because the bombing was close to us, so we could not stay in the village,” Amenah al-Marie, based in the camp and a mother to a child who was prevented from continuing the last school year, told Enab Baladi.

Abdulrahim Saloum, a man internally displaced to the Camp al-Qala’a, is a father of three: His son, the oldest is 11 years old, and the two daughters are eight and seven years old, none of whom is attending school.

“We have been displaced for four months and the schools are all far away. They promised us to construct a school, but so far nothing has happened,” he added, telling Enab Baladi.


Student[less] schools

Mohammad al-Hussain, deputy director of the Idlib Education Directorate, pointed out that 80 of the schools affiliated with the directorate have been rendered out of service after being bombarded.

In addition to those which went out of service, 130 schools have been turned into makeshift shelters for Idlib’s internally displaced persons, according to al-Hussian.

The directorate, nonetheless, is waiting for the security conditions to get better to start rehabilitating schools and retake students.

In the rural parts of Idlib and Hama, the number of internally displaced persons amounted to 728799 persons (112123 families), the Response Coordination Group stated in a report issued on August 5.


Diploma students’ crisis

While the students of transitional classes, who failed to pursue their education last year, seek to attend compensative courses or resume their school classes, the dilemma of high school and ninth-grade students seem to outgrow a solution, for the students who missed the final exams will be coerced into repeating the school year to graduate high school or take a step further to it.

Student Majd al-Raya, from southern rural Idlib, could not join his classmates during the final exams, for he was displaced from his town.

“My family and I fled our house in the Shashabo Mountain immediately after it was bombed, seeking the city of Salqin, northern rural Idlib, almost a month before the final exams of basic school,” he told Enab Baladi in a former interview.

The Idlib Education Directorate established makeshift test centers for the students supposed to take basic and secondary/high school final exams, according to al-Hussain, through which seven thousand male and female students applied for the exams. However, Majd was not one of them, as he failed to focus on his education while displaced.


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