In Syria, educating students a priority

30 April 2013

30 April 2013

Now in its third year, the conflict in Syria has had a severe impact on children’s social, psychological, and physical well-being. The dangers inherent in travelling in war-torn areas have meant that thousands of youth are denied access to education.

Clashes have destroyed or damaged hundreds of schools and many others have been either closed or used to shelter internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled their residence due to the violence.

Students missing school

UNRWA has played a remarkable role in the education of Palestine refugees in the region. But, the on-going conflict has created a crisis for UNRWA’s education programme in Syria.

Of 67,292 students enrolled at UNRWA schools, 43,552 are out of school due to the ongoing conflict. Across Syria, eight UNRWA schools are currently housing IDPs, and a further 61 are closed due to hostilities and access issues. Only 49 schools are currently open and in operation.

Of those Palestine refugees displaced or unable to access schools, some 10,933 are being taught by UNRWA teaching staff at 20 government schools around Damascus.

Creating alternatives techniques

Despite the violence, the Agency is continuing its work by modifying its teaching style to reflect the changing needs of students, providing those out of classroom an opportunity to continue their education.

The education programme has developed new “self-learning materials” to give students the opportunity to make up for lessons lost due to the violence.

School specialists attended a workshop in Beirut earlier this year to learn about designing self-learning materials for distance learners. "I am proud of the collaboration and ultimate trust among the school specialists. Working on a common goal elevated their professionalism", said UNRWA’s Field Education Programme Chief in Syria Mohammad Ammouri. "We have been discussing the need for creative and flexible solutions to deal with the prolonged disruptions to schools as a result of the unrest in Syria", he added.

Students teaching themselves

The self-learning materials will ensure access to education for students affected by the conflict.

Educational materials, including study guides will be available online through an UNRWA account and accessible to students wherever they may be. UNRWA has also embarked on the development of video learning materials to address children’s learning needs inside Syria.

Restoring education is a top priority for UNRWA, and this project is the latest example of the Agency’s efforts to ensure continuity in learning and teaching for a new generation of Palestine refugee students.

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Two UNRWA students from Gaza enjoy recess in their first day of school. © 2017 UNRWA Photo by Rushdi Al-Saraj
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