Education in war-torn Syria on World Teachers’ Day 2021

As Syria continues to endure a 10-year war, Yasmin Turner talks about the Instagram Live that she joined on World Teachers’ Day 2021 (October 5) about the country’s schools and inspirational teachers who go to great efforts to support education in such exceptional circumstances.

The event was hosted by Action for Sama, a charity that raises money to support humanitarian workers and seeks to end the bombing of hospitals in Syria.

The event was led by political activist Afraa Hashem.  

Joining her on the panel was English Language teachers and activists Manal Daaboul and Dalal Al-Hassan.

Dalal Al-Hassan lives on the northern border of Syria and moves between the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib, whilst Manal Daaboul was forcibly displaced from the city of Aleppo in late 2016.  

Their enduring passion for education was undeniable as they answered the question of “what are the challenges that you face as a female teacher?”.

Dalal said: “Most important is the societal view that women are unable to assume responsibility inside and outside the home.”  

Some might be familiar with this view, which was shared on the news recently from Afghanistan, where women are struggling to return to their jobs as teachers after the Taliban gained control of the country once again in August.  

The host speaker, Afraa, continued to explain: “If she loses her job [due to the gender politics of the country or due to war], that will reflect negatively on her family.

“She must look after her whole family, especially if she lost her husband or her brother or father or any male member of her family.”   

This is an enormous pressure, besides the daily struggle of having to navigate and commute through conditions of war and displacement.  

“Standing on the rubble of my school, which was bombed,” said Dalal about the incident that has affected her, but that did not lessen her determination to provide education to children.  

Dalal and Manal described the hardships of living during the coronavirus pandemic.

They said: “Unfortunately, education is not free for everyone.

“Students have dropped out and the largest [group of students who dropped out] are girls.”  

Many students in Idlib do not have access to online platforms and, at large, families do not have enough money to send both children to school, so boys are being preferred, whilst girls stay at home.  

For World Teachers’ Day, you can watch students talk about Dalal and gain an insight into a Syrian school in this 360° video.

And here in the UK, you can easily be a part of supporting education.

Action Tutoring is a charity that helps children from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their academic potential.

As a tutor, online or face to face, the lessons are just one hour a week so you can easily fit this around your schedule.

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply impacted the education sector, so the need of tutors is now bigger than ever.

Lead image: Action for Sama

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