Research training program scholarship initiated in northern countryside of Aleppo
Enab Baladi – Aleppo countryside
In an effort to reinforce the presence of academics in the Syrian north, “Mari” Center for Research and Studies has launched its first scholarship program to train young researchers, under the supervision of a group of Syrian academics and specialists in the city of Azaz, north of Aleppo.
The duration of the scholarship is four weeks, three days per week, for four hours per day. It is directed to graduate students in the northern Syrian regions, who must have earned an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree or they are at the advanced years of university.
“The need is great”
The University of “Idlib” started operating with a teaching cadre consisting of 94 academics from Ph.D. and Masters holders in the academic year of 2015-2016, and the number increased to 113 in the academic year of 2016-2017. In the academic year of 2017-2018, the number of academics at the university reached 155. For the current academic year, there are 250 academics, according to the latest statistics of the university’s official website.
On the other hand, the teaching staff of the University of Aleppo in “the liberated areas” consists of 48 academics, 301 university graduate students, and 11 doctoral students, according to the official website of the university.
As a result, the head of the economic unit at the Mari Center for Research and Studies, Abdul Karim al-Hamoud, believes that there is a “great” need for academics and researchers in the Syrian north and there is a weakness in the field of research there.
The need for academics and researchers increased after universities began to open graduate studies departments, especially in the humanities and theoretical faculties, according to al-Hamoud.
Al-Hamoud pointed out that the academics in the opposition-controlled areas also are in great need of revitalization process, due to the conditions in which they live.
Al-Hamoud pointed out that the six academics and specialists supervising the scholarship take turns to cover these areas, whether technical, statistical, or theoretical research.
The research training program scholarship covers three main methodologies, namely scientific and academic research and studies preparation methodology, the information-gathering methodology, and methodology for intervention preparation and scientific criticism.
The six trainers worked to explain research methods in science in general and shed light on the new methods, in the first week of training, and they also described in the second week the scientific feature writings, according to the methods used to write research in international journals, using the latest methods away from the traditional methods taught at the Syrian universities in general, as announced by the head of the economic unit at the center, Abdul Kareem, who is also an assistant professor of business administration.
In the third and fourth weeks of training, the focus will be on the practical side of scientific research, and the use of the computer technology in search processes on source sites, the use of the “Google Drive” and some other software programs that help in designing data, in addition to dealing with the statistics, designing questionnaires, collecting and analyzing data. A university doctor will cover this area in statistics.
According to al-Hamoud, the motivation behind organizing the scholarship lies in changing the dominant line based on a word-for-word transposition of references and using them in the new research.
The training mechanism covers the theoretical aspect of research in addition to practical applications, such as writing a research paper title, defining the research problems, writing an excellent theoretical framework, and accurate paraphrasing without plagiarizing as well as avoiding the use of direct quotations.
Al-Hamoud considers that the training program is not sufficient to produce capable researchers. Still, it is an “initial” step on the “right” path in scientific research, according to international standards today.
In parallel with this step, the trainers encourage the participants in this scholarship to do their research papers; then, the special ones will be published in the journal of “Mari” for Researches and Studies.
Al-Hamoud pointed out that there will be ongoing and repeated scholarships for more advanced levels in order to increase the skills and capabilities of researchers in the future.
More than 200 students applied to the scholarship, but the center’s administration accepted only 20 male and female trainees according to the available capabilities.
In fact, the registry was open to all according to the specified criteria, but the priority was given to graduate students in the universities of northern Syria in general. Besides, the scholarship is limited for students under the age of 45.
According to al-Hamoud, the center worked to cover the largest possible group of students, in addition to including women in the scholarship, as six out of twenty of the trainees are female graduates of different university majors.
“At the required level”
Ibrahim al-Abdullah, who holds a Master’s degree in International Economic Relations from the University of Aleppo in 2012, and a Ph.D. student in economics, applied for this scholarship for several reasons.
Al-Abdullah told Enab Baladi that this kind of scholarship program has not been organized before in the regions of northern Syria. This program, at a personal level, is crucial as he is a Ph.D. student and needs to keep pace and apply the correct principles in scientific research, in addition to enhancing the role and the importance of such research centers.
According to al-Abdullah, the training program has attained “the required level,” as it deals with the foundations of scientific research, while there is a high turnout of students and researchers to learn the right research methods.
He considers that it is unlikely to entirely rely on such training programs despite the “intensity” of the information they provide with.
According to al-Abdullah, the research needs to be followed on the one hand, and on the other hand, to apply the theoretical framework. In general, the training program plays a vital role in qualifying the researcher on the theoretical level and enhancing his skills by practicing. Thus this can be of greater value for all the community.
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