Schools across Raqqa are still waiting to receive the necessary support in order to provide a wholesome education to children who are studying in heavily damaged buildings.
Schools in the Syrian city of Raqqa have reopened after the city’s liberation from ISIS despite the rubble and damage that remains. Still looking like a battlefield, the schools in Raqqa, which have been established on the ruins of destroyed buildings and homes, accommodate over 45,000 students.
“We have opened 44 schools in the city and enrolled 45 thousand students,” said Ali al-Shanan, the head of the education committee in Raqqa. “Some of these schools are houses that we have rented because there are no schools.”
During their time in the city, ISIS used many of the schools as bases and training grounds, resulting in substantial damage. According to teachers and administrators in areas that have been liberated from ISIS, most of the schools do not have windows or doors, making it extremely tough for students to attend in the winter. Thus, students in many schools have dropped out.
“Due to the school’s bad situation and the bad weather, the first grade was attended by 11 students out of 30,” said Aimen al-Qara’, the principal of the Uqba bin Nafi’ school in Raqqa. “We need help from the Department of Education, which has made a good effort, in addition to the assistance of organisations and the Civil Council.”
Despite their excitement to return to school to continue their education, students in Raqqa have been hesitant to attend due to the lack of equipment and rehabilitated schools. According to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over 2 million students are not in school in Syria.
Authorities say that this is a cause for concern because children who lack education are subject to exploitation by militant and criminal organisations.
As a result, educators throughout Syria have attempted to form new curriculums so that students can catch up with their education after a four-year pause, and learn about the dangers of extremism and radicalisation.
Further emphasis needs to be placed on the education sector in Syria in order to prevent radicalisation by its youth and in order to build a brighter future for the country.