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LIFE’s Education Initiatives in Syria Generate Positive Outcomes in Enrollment and Graduation Rate Throughout the Country

The impact of war on education is profound and multifaceted. Children in conflict-affected countries face significant barriers to accessing education, with many being forced to drop out or unable to attend school at all. 

 

Attacks on schools and educators in conflict zones have increased in recent years, endangering the safety of students and further disrupting learning. Girls are particularly vulnerable, facing increased risks of violence and being kept out of school. Boys also face threats such as recruitment into armed groups and hazardous work.  

 

The psychological well-being of children is also at risk, with conflict-related trauma impacting their ability to learn. Moreover, prolonged conflict exacerbates the challenges of rebuilding education systems, prolonging the cycle of poverty and vulnerability.  


Internationally, more than 250 million children are deprived of schooling, with many of them affected by conflict and insecurity. Children in conflict-affected countries are 30% less likely to complete primary school than those in non-conflict-affected countries. Only 50% of refugee children have access to primary education, compared with a global level of over 90%. 

 

In war-torn Syria, currently, 16.7 million people need humanitarian aid. Escalating violence, marked by airstrikes and ongoing conflict-related incidents, has left families struggling with loss, displacement, and scarce resources. Necessities like food, schooling, and medicine have become luxuries for many, forcing parents to make agonizing choices, with education often taking a backseat. 


The Harsh Reality of Syria's Education System 

 

"The education system in Syria is reeling from the impact of violence," lamented Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, the UNICEF representative in Syria. "Syria once prided itself on the quality of its schools. Now it’s seeing the gains it made over the years rapidly reversed." 

 

Antigovernment activists reached by phone in Syria were not surprised, "Even in those schools that are still open, attendance is very irregular," shared Omar Abu Layla, an activist in the eastern city of Deir al-Zour, another combat hotspot. "Parents worry about sending their kids to school because warplanes usually target schools where the displaced have sought refuge." 

 

The February 2023 earthquake only compounded the crisis, further diminishing the availability of schools. Buildings lay in ruins, either destroyed by the quake itself or repurposed as makeshift shelters for the displaced.  

 

In Syria, over 2.45 million children are out of school, with another million at risk of dropping out. Higher education has been hit particularly hard, with infrastructure damage, staff shortages, and disrupted programs. 


The Impact of Investing in Education 

 

Investing in education for displaced children is crucial to mitigate risks such as vulnerability to abuse, attacks on schools, gender disparities, trauma from war, early marriage, child labor, difficulty in returning to school, underutilization of skills, parental pressure, and vulnerability to climate change. With support, organizations like LIFE are working to provide education and support for displaced children, ensuring a future with more possibilities for them and their communities. 


LIFE’s Response  

 

In response to these challenges, Life for Relief and Development initiated the Interventions to Sustain Higher Education in Syria project, as well as facilitating and supporting elementary and high school level students, focusing on densely populated areas like Azaz, Aleppo, and Jisr al-Shughur, where displaced communities are in dire need. 

 

The projects tackle various educational needs: 

 

University Education Support 

Collaborating with institutions like Aleppo and Gaziantep universities, the project covers operational costs, salaries, and equipment procurement, ensuring the continuation of higher education. 

 

University Scholarships 

Financial aid is provided to deserving students, ensuring equitable access to higher education opportunities. 

 

Support for Public and Matching Schools 

Monthly funds are allocated to cover salaries and operational expenses for teachers and staff, enhancing the quality of education in public schools. 

 

Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Program 

Youth aged 17-25 receive vocational training, focusing on programming skills, to prepare them for employment opportunities and contribute to economic development. 

 

School Constructions 

New school and kindergarten buildings are being constructed to address infrastructure gaps and expand access to quality education facilities. 

 

Progress in the first quarter of 2024 has been promising. Cooperation agreements have been established, scholarships disbursed, and operational support provided to schools. Vocational training sessions are underway, and construction projects are making great headway. 

 

This is the sixth year that many of these programs have been operational, and, in this time, LIFE has seen hundreds of thousands of children and young adults benefit from these programs. Many children and youth are finally able to attend school because of new facilities, more staff and/or financial support. Additionally, the quality of education that these young people are receiving has been a contributing factor to the excellent educational outcomes including higher number of graduates from high school and higher educational. 

 

These programs are not just about rebuilding infrastructure; it's about rebuilding hope. By investing in education, LIFE and its generous donors invest in Syria's future. LIFE empowers youth to become agents of change, equipped with the skills needed for post-conflict reconstruction with dignity, and the belief that a better tomorrow is possible. 




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