Syrian students struggle in Iraqi Kurdistan



ARA News

Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan− Amid the developments of the ongoing war in Syria, education is considered one of the most harmed sectors in the country.  

Among other areas in Syria, the Kurdish region in northern the country saw deteriorating economic situation, beside a security vacuum and growing violence. These conditions forced more than 200.000 Syrian Kurds to look for a safe haven in the neighbouring Iraqi Kurdistan.

Children seem to be the most affected victim of the situation in war-torn Syria, as tens of thousands of them were deprived of their basic right to education, which leaves the door open for possibilities −mostly negative− in the post-war era.     

Students across Syria are suffering the most under the current circumstances resulted by the ongoing conflict that broke out in March 2011, and grew to include the Kurdish region north Syria as the anti-regime Kurdish activists were involved in the Syrian uprising since the beginning. 

According to local sources, thousands of Syrian Kurdish students from various levels are struggling in the Kurdistan Region, in northern Iraq, to find their way and continue their studies. Many families left tthe refugee camps in the Region and resorted to big cities with a hope of providing their children with better living conditions and education. 

Many Syrian Kurdish students have recently handed in their official study documents to the Ministry of Education in the Iraqi Kurdistan for a possible evaluation. However, opportunities are limited for those students to continue their academic journey they begun in Syria.

Activists said that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) tried to set plans to distribute Syrian students to schools with Arabic education −as most of Kurdistan’s schools provide education mostly in Kurdish− but the large numbers were an obstacle, “which would cause unequal educational opportunities for Syrians in the Kurdistan Region”. 

As for those based in refugee camps, the lack of insurance and the high transport fares prevented them from attending schools.

The majority of the Syrian Kurdish students were forced into performing different kinds of services and works for law wages in order to survive the high expenses of living in cities like Erbil and Suleimani. Even children, who were supposed to be attending a primary school, have switched to work on selling cigarettes and mobile credit on the sidewalks, while others started working in restaurants to earn living and afford the expensive life in the Iraqi Kurdistan.

An official in the KRG Media Office −preferred anonymity− told ARA News that, in cooperation with the UNICEF and UNHCR, the Kurdistani government works on providing Syrian child refugees with elementary education through offering basic school supplies and facilities. 

With the start of the new study year in Syria, the United Nations said that nearly 2 million Syrian children are deprived of education, “either because of the damage that seized schools in some areas, or due to the mass displacement”. 

According to the UN records, more than 125,000 Syrians have been killed since the start of the 33-month-old war in Syria, with an estimation of 5000 casualties every month.


Reporting by: Mahmoud Simo

Source: ARA News 

(Editing by: Adib Abdulmajid)


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