The challenges that threaten education in Hama

Hama province has been a site of continuous clashes between warring factions of various rebel groups and the Syrian regime’s forces since the onset of the civil war in Syria. Education in the province has been badly hit. Infrastructure of educational institutions has been damaged, in some cases irreparably. Teachers and school staff are not always paid a sufficient amount as a salary, if they are paid anything at all. Schools lack basic facilities and tools.

The village of Qastoun, which is located in the northernmost tip of Hama province, bordering Idlib province, has been subject to the ravages of the war. Debris, dilapidated buildings and damaged school facilities are the remnants left behind by the shelling between the regime and the opposition. The village is currently under rebel control.

Teachers at a school in the village note that they are left with the most basic tools with which they teach students. The lack of electricity simply makes the job that much more difficult. They emphasise that they are unpaid volunteers. They provide education for the sake of the development of their homeland. They see a bright future in the children of village.

Officials working in the education sector in the province of Hama have continually made appeals to organisations to assist them in the rehabilitation process, however they have as of yet only received promises.

Two schools have reportedly been closed for a number of days due to the absence of heating, the lack of renovation to the schools, a shortage in funding and the paucity of salaries for employed teachers.

Despite the unfavourable conditions in the schools, especially considering the lack of heating during the cold winter, parents are still keen on sending their children to study and see education as the only hope for them to develop and not sit by idly as time passes.

Nevertheless, education officials in Hama state that there is a risk of 13,000 students dropping out of school due to the treacherous conditions within schools.

Image: Aljazeera