Across much of Syria, the war is showing signs of winding down. Although certain regions such as Deir ez-Zour and Damascus continue to witness heavy fighting, regions that once saw heavy fighting such as northern Aleppo are now experiencing an extended period of calm, despite the still-complicated political situation. With the extended calm comes the opportunity to rebuild and catch up with the opportunities that were missed out during the war. An institute in al-Bab aims to do just that, providing free education to displaced people.
The institute was founded by a teacher displaced from Homs Province for students from Homs. However, it caters to students from every part of Syria who have found themselves in al-Bab. At present, it aims to provide students with high school diplomas in the fields of science and literature (the latter also including social sciences/humanities). Offering both day and evening classes, the school has a separate institute where students can ask teachers questions to learn more. Many of the students appreciate that their teachers are from the same parts as them and therefore find them more relatable.
It is well known that the education sector is Syria has suffered immensely under the strain of the country’s six-year war. In addition to bombardments and lack of staff, in areas formerly controlled by ISIS such as al-Bab, education has heavily controlled to promote the group’s jihadist ideology. Therefore, authorities in al-Bab have been keen to repair the schools and return them to serviceable condition. The institute is just one such facility. Others include prefabricated school buildings for primary school students in order to accommodate them. Al-Bab has also seen improvements to public spaces that were destroyed by militants or the subsequent battles, even as the first year anniversary of the city’s liberation from ISIS draws near.