An Analysis of the educational process and the various curricula taught in the different influence zones across Syria
Lama Rajeh explores how women are portrayed in the various curricula taught across Syria today; in the regime-controlled areas, in the opposition-controlled areas and in the areas run by the Kurdish Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria. She analyzes how gender-balanced these curricula are, and she compares the teaching methods used in each of these areas. She also investigates how social circumstances and political reality are affecting the education process.
This article is the outcome of an ongoing collaboration with the Syria Untold with support from The Guardian Foundation and International Media Support (IMS)
Filming in Kurdish-held areas: Jano Shaker, Judy Haj Ali
Filming in rebel-held areas: Ayham Beyoush
Video editing: Saad El Hajj
Infographics: Ahmed Najjar
I was speaking with him on WhatsApp. The tone of his voice and the way he spoke suggested that as the eldest brother, he was the decision-maker in the family and was perhaps also the one in control.
Mohammad is 13-year-old, he is in the 7th-grade in middle school. He lives with his family in Maarrat al-Numan in Idlib Countryside, the area is now under the Syrian opposition. He has two sisters who are five and twelve years old.
Mohammad attends one of the schools affiliated to the opposition Syrian Interim Government. The Interim Government policy is to segregate males and females in schools starting from the 5th-grade. He justifies that saying, “mixing in school is prohibited and haram, and that’s better for both girls and boys, because this way, girls can preserve themselves.”
We tried to find out how the school curriculum Mohammad is learning influences the way he thinks, and how it affects his relationship with his mother and sisters. He said, “what I learn in books doesn’t matter that much to me, what matters is upholding the principle that my sisters do not leave the house alone, and they they only go out if my father or myself chaperone them.”
The Syrian revolution erupted eight years ago and changed the political scene completely. We thought it is important to investigate the extent to which these changes affected the education process. Our main aim is to explore the level of awareness among educators about the importance of breaking gender stereotypes about the roles of women and girls. We also want to explore how these roles are portrayed in the various curricula taught across the country.
We worked on analyzing two subjects; Reading and Social Sciences in the curricula taught for 5th- and 6th-graders in regime-controlled areas, opposition-controlled areas, and the areas of the Kurdish Autonomous Administration in North-East Syria.
It became evident to us by reviewing and analyzing the Reading curricula in each of these areas that most of the texts were written by male authors. In addition, the curricula included texts authored by parties or institutions such as the Ministry of Education, or other educational or medical institutions.