Education Changes Under Syrian Opposition Rule

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November 2014
Taqad, Aleppo Province, Syria

Students in the rebel-controlled village of Taqad to the west of Aleppo no longer have to pay tribute to the Syrian regime.
In this village with a population of 11,000, public schools follow books issued by the interim government appointed by the opposition Syrian National Coalition.
The director of one the local schools says that the new curriculum “shifted from glorifying the regime to glorifying the homeland.”
References to Bath party’s ideology or the “achievements” of Presidents Bashar al-Assad and his father the late President Hafez al-Assad were omitted from the new books, which are printed in Turkey and opposition-held areas in Syria.
Schools in this little town, however, have other pressing needs to deal with. Teachers work in overcrowded classrooms and students sometimes ditch school when they hear the sound of warplane


00:45 – 00:55
Interview with Abdel Karim Subhi, a second-grade student (Boy, Arabic)
"I am eight years old. Whenever the airplanes are flying, my brothers and I do not come. We wait for them to end their raids so we come to school.

01:02 – 01:30
Interview with Ahmad al-Deek, a pro-opposition education official in Aleppo province (Man, Arabic)
“Books did not undergo a radical change in their content, but some of their content was modified, especially the parts where the regime is sanctified. Only national educational was totally removed from the curriculum. The Syrian National Coalition is working on printing new books and distributing them in the liberated areas. We also stress on the importance of education as a basic necessity in life, whether under bombardment or not. Education is a weapon to confront the regime, and the answer towards a better Syria in the future.”

01:31 – 01:44
Interview with Rama Humaida, a seven-grade student (Girl, Arabic)
“My siblings and I come from a middle class family, and we come to school every day to learn. My favorite class is the one related to Religion, and I wish to be a religious studies instructor in the future.”

02:50 – 03:13
Interview with Ahmad Jumaa, the director of Qaddour al-Sayyed school (Man, Arabic)
“This is Qaddour al-Sayyed School for Girls. The school has five sections classes; there are 12 teachers, some of whom are volunteers. We were able to get the necessary supplies such as books and notebooks with the help of some organizations.”

03:14 – 03:31
Interview with Nour Qassem, a grade-seven student (Girl, Arabic)
“My siblings and I come from a poor family, and we come to school every day to learn. My favorite class is Arabic, and I wish to be an Arabic instructor in the future.”

03:33 – 03:48
Interview with Raed Abdu, a primary school teacher (Man, Arabic)
“Despite our difficult circumstances and continuous airstrikes, we started the new academic year. This year was different in terms of taught subjects, especially national education and history.”

04:32 – 04:42
Interview with Ahmad Jumaa, principal of Qaddour al-Sayyed school
“I am the director of the Qaddour al-Sayyed School. The Syrian National Coalition distributed new books to the schools but we had to print some of the missing books in the local print houses.”

04:49 – 05:16
Interview with Abdullah Jumaa, a local teacher (Man, Arabic)
“The books were modified according to the situation we are living in now. All the parts where Bashar al-Assad and his gang are sanctified were removed. The new books shifted from the glorification of the regime to the glorification of the entire homeland, and new parts were added that reflect the actual situation.”