Need to develop sentiments of belonging, citizenship and other intellectual reforms

How could we understand the Syrian crisis within the context of the aggravation of a number of issues? The crisis exposed a complicated structure upon which all developments and repercussions were based. One of the many components of this context is the “Cultural Structure” of the individual and the society, and perhaps the crisis was a sort of revelation of all the accumulations that preceded it, especially the question of the unity of the society, as severe social discrepancies took place at all levels. Moreover, as the crisis developed, serious defects appeared within the body of education, whether at the technical level or the intellectual curricula one, or even with regards to its ability to have an impact over the general trends within the society.

Prior to the crisis, the education sector suffered from a number of challenges that can be summarised as follows:

  •  High drop-out rates from basic education that led to high illiteracy rates, particularly in the north eastern region.
  • Deteriorating educational infrastructure, whether in school buildings or educational staffs, that became inadequate to increasing numbers of students.
  • The affiliation of the educational institution to the political one (State Education Bureau) which led to weakening links between the school and society.

The crisis further added to these challenges a decrease in the number of available schools for education whether due to destruction or due to usage as shelters for the displaced. It also raised questions pertinent to the cultural identity of the society and individuals, amongst a clear division, an increase in extremism and students becoming involved in many incidents that Syria witnessed.

These challenges appeared while social life became more and more complex and the emerging of violence against children and “special” educationally marginalised groups of children (labour children, children with unknown parents and juveniles), taking into consideration that the number of unrecorded children of both sexes was estimated at 125,159 as per the multi-indicators cluster survey of 2006.

Therefore, within the framework of bypassing the crisis consequences crisis on education and building of individuals, some opinions are of the view of dealing through a clear program that includes:

  • Peace  and citizenship curriculum: It would illustrate rights and duties for both the state and the citizen, within a modern, civic, secular and democratic state, and would be adopted by schools and various NGOs. The state should work on promoting feelings of belonging to Syria as a multi cultural, ethnic, religious and partisan country that guarantees equal rights to all groups and parties.  Such a curriculum could be adapted to re-include and rehabilitate the currently fighting youths through life skills curricula, in order to build the individual’s personality.
  • Sex and reproductive health curriculum: Raising awareness and orientation about such topics should be carried out in a safe and healthy environment such as that in schools and specialized NGOs.
  • Peer education curriculum: Children and adolescents tend to absorb information more smoothly, when coming from peers. Therefore, training and qualifying prominent ones is considered crucial to participating in various aforementioned training sessions.
  • Capacity building of governmental staff in the educational sector, and all other sectors.

Moreover, another approach to the education issue and development of individuals stresses the importance of composing a curriculum on consolidating the “Cultural Identity”,  regardless of the used techniques and methods. Moreover, whether using the aforementioned ideas or further ones, it is highly important to note that the Syrian crisis put the cultural identity in question between two extremes; one adopting the religious heritage, which is called by various terminologies like “fundamentalism” and “Salafism”, and another trend that is liberal. Re-consolidating the cultural identity is key to overcome the current difficult situation that is creating extreme polarization within the society and directing it towards permanent conflicts.

Thank you for your feedback


  1. Mona Butrous

    This will only be the end result of establishing a fair political system,once the Syrian citizen start to feel that his contribution has an impact on the political life of his country,a new value and stronger sense of belonging will emerge,let’s begin with establishing a sense of justice and equality first,change the school curriculum and remove all the brain washing and stop glorifying undeserved individuals and stop the practice of worshipping of humans,but worship god in moderation too,use the religion as a tool to create harmony and peace in the society and not to divide and emphasize a cult or tribal belonging.
    We should start with treating our children with respect and build their confidence and independance at early stage,at home ,at school and in every single institution,and not treat them like a mass and force certain political believes on them,teach them to become a critical thinkers,encourage them to ask questions and discuss every subject they feel the need to clarify,teach them to respect themselves and
    respecting the others will become a natural response then ,and finally emphasize the Syrian identity without being too much inclusive to the Arabic one,Syria had only misery ,arms and killing from Arabism.

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