Education deteriorates in “settlement” areas in al-Qunaytirah province
The educational process has been deteriorating in the province of al-Qunaytirah, in the south of Syria, since the “settlement” deal signed between the opposition factions and the Syrian regime.
Many sources from al-Qunaytirah told Enab Baladi that the Syrian regime had adopted a “penal policy” against districts that opposed it in the province.
The sources indicated that the Syrian regime’s governmental institutions are depriving “settlement” areas of educational supplies and teaching staff.
The Russia-backed Syrian regime took control over the provinces of both Daraa and al-Qunaytirah in July 2018, under the “settlement” agreement in July 2018. This settlement was reached after several days of bombardment and military reinforcements that forced the Syrian opposition factions to leave to northern Syria.
A teacher in one of the villages in al-Qunaytirah controlled by the Syrian regime talked to Enab Baladi on condition of anonymity, citing that there are one thousand students from all educational levels in the village without desks.
He also pointed out that there is a shortage of teachers for specific subjects such as natural sciences, English, and French languages.
He clarified to Enab Baladi that most of the current teachers are substitutes with no university degrees or academic specialization. Moreover, most teachers are female, amid the absence of male teachers due to the current security conditions.
He added that there are two reasons for the lack of male teachers in al-Qunaytirah. First, several male teachers have immigrated out of fear of military conscription and service in the Syrian regime forces. The second reason is that some male teachers stay out of sight due to arrest warrants issued against them by the security branches, which are back to its old violent practices in the “settled” areas.
The Education Directorate of the Syrian regime in al-Qunaytirah province stated that in October 2018, there were 93 schools out of 246 of all school levels damaged as a result of fierce battles, according to the Syrian state-run news agency (SANA).
The directorate pointed out that the number of students in al-Qunaytirah has reached 74,000 students in Basic education, 13,000 students in secondary school, and 2,600 students in vocational education.
The school teacher, who spoke on condition of anonymity, emphasized to Enab Baladi that the number of students is decreasing in al-Qunaytirah due to poor educational conditions caused by the Syrian regime. Moreover, students are unable to adjust with the presence of the Syrian government in areas that were held previously by the opposition for years.
In the same context, Ali (an alias name), the father of a student in al-Qunaytirah, said that many students who lived in the “revolution” areas in the province missed one or two school years. These students were permanently denied an education because of the continuous shelling, siege, and security conditions before the regime took control over al-Qunaytirah.
He added, “the bombardment has stopped, but the regime aims to obstruct education by depriving schools of textbooks, desks, heating, specialized and qualified teachers.”
As for students, Ali pointed out that they are unwilling to learn after years of interruption and war. He said students need psychological support and more considerable attention, which the Syrian regime would not offer.
Ali added, “education is one of the most profound sectors on which societal and human development are measured.
Education represents a logical criterion for progress and development in life. Since the regime took violent security measures against the Syrian public demands, education has been one of the sectors that witnessed the most heinous systematized forms of violence and destruction.”
Furthermore, SANA reported that 300 million Syrian Pounds (SYP- 291,262 USD) were dedicated to the Education Directorate in al-Qunaytirah for the maintenance works of 50 essential and secondary schools in the province.
Ali concluded that schools in “settled” areas are still marginalized in comparison with other schools that are in the regions that remained under the control of the Syrian regime throughout the war in al-Qunaytirah.
Most of the schools of the “settlement” areas are destroyed and in need of teachers, scientific labs, desks, textbooks, and heating supplies.
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