Syrian activists have launched a social media campaign to demand better education in northern Syria, and especially in the Idleb governorate where many children drop out of school. Statistics show that a total of 45% of children drop out of education in Idleb, where more than 140,000 children are estimated to be completely outside the school system. This has resulted from the absence of subsidized schools.
Under the hashtag #ادعموا_تعليم_إدلب (#support_education_in_Idleb), activists said that education is crucial to improving children’s standard of living and eliminating factors that have ruined their childhood, such as child labour, early marriage, extremism, and recruitment as fighters.
The campaign spread poignant images of Syrian children taking their lessons in water-dripping tents, while other pictures show children studying alone in the cold outside their tents. These images come amidst the tragic circumstances that repeated themselves for years.
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According to Syrian pro-opposition media, around 405 schools are currently operating in Idleb and its surrounding areas. Each school functions with volunteer staff and receives no support. The school system comprises more than 5,700 teachers educating more than 130,000 children. Staff often attend part-time due to a lack of teachers and the non-binding nature of the teachers’ volunteer commitments, meaning that these students are at least partially considered to be school dropouts.
In May 2020, Save the Children said that attacks on schools in northwestern Syria had continued, despite a ceasefire being in place. “It is heartbreaking to see that children are still victims of the Syrian conflict, paying the highest price. Schools should be safe havens for children, rather than war zones,” said Sonia Koch, the organization’s Syria country director, in a special report at the time.
In June 2020, UNICEF estimated that the conflict in Syria had deprived 2.8 million Syrian children of the right to education. UNICEF reported that every two out of five schools were unfit to receive students due to destruction from warfare. UNICEF noted that from 2014 to 2019, the organization had recorded the military targeting of 533 educational facilities across Syria.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.