Middle East

Quarter-million students in Idlib, Syria lack access to education

Over 5,100 teachers in Idlib train students voluntarily, make ends meet by daily jobs such as shepherding

Gökhan Ergöçün   | 20.05.2021
Quarter-million students in Idlib, Syria lack access to education

ISTANBUL 

While around 345,000 students, at all levels, go to school in the northern Syrian province Idlib, some 260,000 school-age children cannot find a chance to access education due to a shortage of schools.

"We see that there are difficulties in meeting the most basic needs related to education in the Idlib region of Syria," Sebahattin Aydin, the education coordinator of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (IHH), told Anadolu Agency.

There are almost 1,000 schools and 24,000 teachers in the region, while 5,116 of them are voluntary people without any income, Aydin said, adding that these people do not abandon students against all odds.

They teach voluntarily because there are no government or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for supporting the region financially in the education field, he stressed.

He added: "They try to earn their keeps by daily work, such as shepherding, peddling, or helping traders, and they do not leave their students alone."

One of the main problems related to education in this region is supporting teachers, he said, noted: "Undoubtedly, supporting them stands as the first priority in raising the education standards."

The Idlib region currently hosts around 4.3 million displaced Syrian people, according to humanitarian relief agencies’ data.

NGOs, especially from Turkey, are active in the region in building briquette houses and providing humanitarian aid.

Buildings, materials

He also said there are many destroyed schools in the region, noting: "We see that the schools close to the conflict points have been targeted and destroyed, and education has been prevented."

After the repairing of these schools, people return to these regions and start to live in their own lands, he underlined.

Another problem is the lack of basic education materials in these schools such as desks, chalks, notebooks, stationery items, and heating opportunities in winter, he stressed.

He said the most important factor related to these problems is that the NGOs are not active in this area, and added: "NGOs both from Turkey and foreign countries should focus on this area."

"School shortages in camps, insufficient classrooms in schools, and the limited capacity of classrooms make access to education difficult for students," he added.

To solve this situation, it is necessary to build a new school in each camp area, especially in the newly built campsites, in a cost-effective way, Aydin also noted.

Touching on the validity of these schools, he said the curriculum, which was prepared for temporary education centers that were opened for Syrians in Turkey, is also taught in Idlib, just as in the regions of Azaz, Jarablus, Afrin, Tal Abyad, and Ras al-Ayn.

So, students that graduate in Idlib and receive their diploma from the local government, are also approved as primary school graduates in Turkey, he asserted.

Mentioning the IHH's works in the region, he said the foundation contributes to educational efforts in Idlib with 35 educational institutions, 600 education employees, and by supporting more than 15,000 educators in many fields.

"Apart from this, we continue to work on meeting the needs of schools in many areas, supporting volunteer teachers with cash and food aid in different periods of the year, and meeting educational materials and heating requirements."

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