Non-recognition of academic diplomas and degrees of International Sham university

International Sham University - 16 August 2020 (Enab Baladi)

International Sham University - 16 August 2020 (Enab Baladi)


Students of “International Sham University” (ISU) in the northern countryside of Aleppo unanimously agreed that their future after graduation is unknown because the university’s degrees and diplomas are not recognized globally. 

Some ISU students posed a range of problems that they encounter in their academic study, in an interview with the program “what’s your problem?”—the program is broadcast on Enab Baladi’s social media platforms on Fridays and Mondays.

According to the survey conducted by the program, the students attributed the lack of recognition of their university degrees to the instability of the entire region in northern Syria, as several parties and factions manage the area, which makes it unstable.

The students met by Enab Baladi indicated that the ISU administration is attempting to reassure them every now and then that the ISU will obtain international recognition soon, stressing that there is no such tangible thing at present.

One of the problems facing ISU students is their marginalization in the labor market in the opposition-held areas, for the benefit of young people holding degrees issued by the universities of the Syrian regime. Furthermore, many organizations refuse to hire ISU students.

They pointed out that employment in northern Syria is not based primarily on obtaining a university degree, but on those with work experience.

Reasons why the ISU is not nationally nor internationally recognized

The President of the “ISU,” Ezz al-Din al-Qaddour, explained to Enab Baladi the reasons that hinder the recognition of the degrees and diplomas issued by the ISU.

First, al-Qaddour said that the non-recognition of the ISU is not related to the legal grounds nor the academic and scientific standards. The issue of acquiring the accreditation has nothing to do either with the international recognition the “Syrian Interim Government” is trying to obtain. The problem of recognition is a political one, referring to the unstable situation in northern Syria.

Al-Qaddour pointed out that all students who enroll at the ISU or any one of the universities operating in northern Syria know from the beginning that these universities are not recognized internationally.

Al-Qaddour emphasized that the ISU aims to prepare teachers and administrative cadres in Syria to provide educational services, in the areas under the control of the opposition, stressing that the ISU and other universities in northern Syria meet most of the academic and scientific standards at a high level despite lack of recognition to date.

He added that the ISU is being linked externally with several agreements through scientific research; the ISU can carry out scientific research inside Syria, especially in the areas outside the control of the Syrian regime’s government. Al-Qaddour clarified that this step might pave the way for obtaining recognition for the university in the future.

Nationally recognized

Al-Qaddour confirmed to Enab Baladi that the ISU does not bear the responsibility alone to obtain international recognition, stating that the ISU received national accreditation, and many ISU graduates found employment in local councils, unions, and organizations.

Four years into its establishment, the ISU held a graduation ceremony for its first batch of students in the town of Shammarin in rural Aleppo in October 2019.

The graduates included 57 students from three faculties: The Faculty of Sharia and Law, the Faculty of Political Science, and the Faculty of Management and Economics including the following programs: law, Sharia, business administration and accounting, finance, and political science, according to the director of examination at the university, Jassim al-Sayyed.

Turkish support

The ISU was founded in 2015 with the help of the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH). The university opened to enrollment in 2016, with 300 students who joined its first four faculties: sharia and law, political science, administration and economics, and engineering (including the departments of computer, civil, chemical engineering, and physics).

Al-Sayyed also said that the university added a faculty of education to its ranks. He estimated the overall number of students for this year to be around 600 in all faculties.

Al-Sayyed stressed that the university overcame the precarious security conditions in the area four years ago. The region had been under relentless bombardment by Russian and regime forces, in addition to ISIS forces advancing to the threshold of Shamarin and the Syrian Democratic Forces towards Azaz city. However, the ISU was able to develop its teaching staff and improve teaching quality.

Tuition fees at the university are around 150 USD and provide students with monthly support of 100 TL (about 17 USD) in addition to accommodation and food.

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