ISIS’ educational system prevails in northeastern Syria


Islamic State militants imposed their curriculum on schools in areas of control across Syria and Iraq. File photo

ARA News

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan – After one year under the control of the Islamic State’s (IS/ ISIS) militants, the town of al-Shaddadi in the province of Hasakah, northeastern Syria, saw the start of a new school year, but this time with a new curriculum imposed by the radical group.

Schools of Shaddadi suspended classes in history, philosophy, music and literature, as the IS group obliged teachers to launch a new curriculum “in accordance with the Sharia teachings”.  

From IS’ point of view, national songs and philosophy “offend Islam”. Thus several subjects were omitted to avoid “corruption of Muslims’ children”. Biology subject was also amended to comply with the IS ideology. 

The town’s residents had reservations on such decision: however, they were unable to confront IS members.

Speaking to ARA News, Walid al-Mahasini, a resident of Shaddadi, commented on the current educational conditions in the town saying: “I have few books from the old curriculum where I spend five hours a day teaching math, physics and Arabic to my children at home.”

“I want to save my children from illiteracy and ignorance even if there are no official certificates for them to move to the next stage,” al-Mahasini said.

After the start of the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes, most of the schools in the IS-held areas in Syria and Iraq became military strongholds and arms warehouses as well as premises of the migrants’ families fighting with the extremist group. 

Samar Hwija, a female teacher in Shaddadi, told ARA News that education in Shaddadi “represents the situation in all IS-held areas where the two genders are put in separate schools after the age of 12.” 

“Moreover, male teachers are prevented from teaching at girls’ schools and vice versa. Female teachers are also obliged to wear veil,” Hwija said.

She pointed out that the future of students is “vague” as the majority of people are displaced from the IS-held areas due to the latter’s constraints on education and other aspects of life.

“In Shaddadi, more than 20 schools were closed due to war and displacement, as most of them are now being used as accommodations by the IS militants,” Hwija said. 

Speaking to ARA News in the IS-held town of Tel Hamis in the province of Hasakah, female teacher Medya Issa said: “Students are suffering the most under the rule of the IS radicals.”

“The majority of families fled Tell Hamis to save the future of their children. But there are still hundreds of families who are stranded in the city and cannot move, which means that hundreds of children are deprived of their right to education,” Issa said. 

By its interference in education, IS tries to reinforce its dogma on civilians in areas under its control, such as Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, as well as the countryside of Hasakah province in northeastern the war-torn country. 

According to the UNICEF, around 3 million Syrian students have been deprived of their right to education for four years now.


Reporting by: Serbaz Yusuf

Source: ARA News

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