New Curricula for Old Schools
A close look at the education reform in Syria
Part 1: Introduction
This year, Syrian schoolchildren at all levels are going to follow an entirely new academic program. The new books and programs are in line with the government’s vision for a more progressive educational system.
The minister of education, Ali Saeed, said that the new programs are devoid of “unnecessary and superfluous” information and added that experts will be evaluating the impact of the new system. In statements published in August by the Syrian National news agency, SANA, Saeed said that the number of schooling hours would be increased to accommodate the new program.
Prior to the implementation of the new programs, teachers across the country underwent intensive training sessions.
A ministry official described the new curricula as important for “building a national character capable of adapting, solving problems and participating in economic development.” His remarks were published in the pro-government newspaper, Al-Watan.
While some observers welcomed the new programs, others criticized the move. In one comment posted on a local news website, Mohamad Ahmad, who participated in the drafting of the new curricula, said teachers and supervisors constituted an obstacle that might impede the success of the new programs. He said that older instructors and those who don’t know how to use computers might not be capable of adopting modern teaching techniques in their classrooms.
Another website, Shampress, said in one article that the training sessions given to the teachers were not enough to explain to them about the new system. The article said that an overhaul of the infrastructure of schools was as important as modernizing the programs.
Most online comments criticized the schools’ infrastructure and the trainings offered to the teachers and described by some as “crowded and chaotic.” Others said that the new programs were excellent but lacked the proper environment that could guarantee their success. Some students said that the programs seemed too long to be covered in one academic year.
The new programs can be downloaded from the education ministry’s website.
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