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At a glance: Syrian Arab Republic

Support for every child’s right to education in Syria

© UNICEF Syria/2010/Rashidi
A student in class at the local school in Al-Hasakah, which recieved new desks as part of UNICEF-supported programme in the Syrian Arab Republic.

By Rob Sixmith

AL-HASSAKAH, Syrian Arab Republic, 21 April 2010 – Schools are similar across the world: boisterous students, playground noise and homework to be done.

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But for some students in the Syrian Arab Republic, especially in areas such as Al-Hasakah in the extreme north of the country, education has been limited. And a recent drought here has compounded the stress on an already overstretched education system that has absorbed an influx of thousands of Iraqi students.

UNICEF has partnered with the European Union to ensure every child’s right to education, as mandated by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Syrian schools now have improved teacher training, as well as sanitation workshops. In Al-Hassakah, school supplies and reconstructed classrooms have enlivened the learning environment.

Refurbished schools

“This is a new thing in this school. We’ve not had something like this before,” said Al-Hasakah headmaster Saiid Bakro. “Now we have these beautiful desks that are the right size for the children, painted walls, also a sun shade in the playground. Before, there were no guardrails and a boy fell to his death from the second floor. Now it is safer.”

© UNICEF Syria/2010/Rashidi
UNICEF and the European Union have pledged to work alongside committed teachers to support the aspirations of Syrian students.

The students are proud of their refurbished schools. Proudly offering to show off new facilities, even the toilets. The new bathrooms are a cause of fascination.

“This bit is new, the toilets are all new. These are French toilets, see, you press this button,” said Mohummed, 11, as he toured his newly spruced-up school. “Also, this is my favorite picture, of the park and the people with trees,” he added, pointing to a wall painting. “It is really beautiful.”

Filling the gaps
Many areas in the Syrian Arab Republic remain impoverished, and this, in turn has an effect on access to quality education in local schools.

© UNICEF Syria/2010/Rashidi
Girls are encouranged to attend school in a UNICEF-supported programme to improve education in the Syrian Arab Republic.

To fill the gaps, teaching staff have sometimes banded together to help students buy uniforms and essential school equipment.

UNICEF and the European Union have pledged to work alongside these committed teachers to bolster and support the aspirations of students across the Syrian Arab Republic. Be this through new bathrooms, better desks or improved teacher training, the result will be the same – an improved education for Syria’s enthusiastic students.




UNICEF's Rob Sixmith reports on support for improved education for Syrian children.
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