Abdalaziz Alhamza “RBSS”
Raqqa is one of the three provinces, Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and Hasaka, which were described by the Syrian regime as they are still under developing process. The educational situation was not that good; the shortage of teachers especially in the countryside is considered as the main problem. This shortage was covered with part time teachers who were still college students and did not complete their studies or by foreign teachers came from other provinces that are related to the security forces.
All of that had led to a collapse in the educational situation and people had to depend on private lessons, in institutes or at homes, which were very expensive.
After March 2013 when the city went out of the regime’s control, several teachers from Raqqa decided to establish (The Liberal Teachers Association). This association managed to save the Directorate of Education archives and moved them to a safe place. The association adopted the Syrian Interim Government curriculum which is the same as the regime’s but without the national education. The association also supervised primary and secondary examinations they even sent students in scholarships to France through several protocols were signed with the French universities.
Despite the attempts from Ahrar Al Sham and ISIS to establish such bodies, they failed to accomplish anything.
Education process continued in Raqqa until the first day of the academic year 2013/2014 when regime warplane targeted Ibn Tofayel School which led to the death of 13 students along with the school guard and some civilians. This was a reason for parents to not send their children to schools especially after retargeting two schools in the city,
The education situation under ISIS control:
When ISIS first controlled the city, they let students complete their studies with some restrictions over mixed schools (males and females), the terrorist group used schools to convince young male teenagers to join the terrorist group and the female teenagers to marry from the groups fighters.
When the terrorist group controlled over Mosul in summer 2014 they banned schooling and announced that they are up to produce a new curriculum. However, the terrorist group did not fulfill the promises and did not complete the education process. They only established schools for the foreign fighters’ children in order to integrate them with the new society. Instead of the schools the terrorist group established camps for children such as (Ashbal Al Khilafa) and (Al Zarqawi).
The education situation under SDF control:
The Syrian Democratic Forces controlled over Tal Abyad, Ein Essa and Suluk in Raqqa’s northern countryside in June 2015. At the time, people of Suluk were forced to displace by these forces under the pretext of the unstable security situation. After that, they imposed the curriculum of the Auto Administration, which uses Kurdish as the main language, in an attempt to make a demographical change in these areas.
These forces are advancing south towards the city of Raqqa; it looks like they are going to use the same method there despite their announcements which do not reflect the reality.