Nearly 200 schools in Syria reopened during the first half of 2017 – allowing thousands of children to return to education in the war-torn nation. But 1.75 million children remain out of school and the education sector has lost 150,000 personnel, which has drastically affected the quality of schooling.
Because attacks on schools continue in the seven-year conflict, the reconstruction of damaged buildings is not currently feasible given the “high probability” they may be targeted and damaged again.
Prior to the current conflict, Syria saw its share of education successes. While the Syrian education system struggled with quality and relevance, it was nonetheless able to provide education services for Grades 1-9 for almost all Syrian children. In fact, much like its Levantine neighbors, Syria had achieved the two education-related Millennium Development Goals – Education for All for basic education as well as gender parity in enrolment.
But the conflict that began in 2011 has had an extraordinarily destructive impact – on lives, infrastructure, health and education. 5.82 million Children and youth from pre-school to the secondary level are in need of education assistance. More than 1.7 million children inside Syria are out of school. One in three schools cannot be used because they are destroyed, damaged, sheltering displaced families or being used for military purposes. The education system has lost 150,000 or over one third of its personnel, including teachers.
Access to education is often constrained by issues of security and an insufficient number of schools. Children are also not going to school due to socioeconomic imperatives, such as needing to work to feed their families or their parents being unable to pay schooling fees. The country has seen a rise in child marriage because, in the eyes of some girls’ parents, marriage provides a more secure present and future for their daughters and transfers responsibility for their well-being to someone else.