Rural south Aleppo education: ‘Rudimentary equipment in primitive structures’


February 9, 2016

 A blue-tinted classroom, courtesy of the tarp serving as a roof. Photo courtesy of Mahmoud Qudsi.

An education official in opposition-held Aleppo visited rural villages south of Syria’s second city and found makeshift blocks cemented together with blue tarp on top serving as schools.

The question of how this generation of children is being educated is largely one of perspective: The schools in these villages, under constant Russian bombardment these days, are only open two days a week for two hours at a time. And yet –they are open.

Students have so little; only a notebook and pen with volunteers standing in the three-walled structures (the front of this school shown above remains open to the elements) attempting to inculcate children with some form of basic knowledge.

“Educational instruction is limited to the elementary level using rudimentary equipment and held in primitive structures,” said Mahmoud Qudsi, the director of the Aleppo Educational Office, who recorded his visit to rural south Aleppo province over the weekend and posted the video to Facebook Monday.

Volunteer teachers instruct students in “essential subjects” such as the alphabet, numbers, and basic arithmetic for only two hours twice a week, said Qudsi.

During his visit, Qudsi handed out satchels to students in the crumbling cement school, since “none of them even had backpacks.”

“I can’t describe the overflowing happiness when we distributed the satchels,” said Qudsi.

The school bags were purchased using educational funds, which are limited, for rebel-controlled neighborhoods in Aleppo city. The Aleppo Educational Office, which oversees education only in the opposition-held areas of the city, has little to offer their neighbors to the south, Qudsi said.

A lack of funds is not the only problem. Constant Russian airstrikes impede the prospect of shipping equipment to southern Aleppo villages, said Qudsi.

“I hope with all my heart that the barbaric Russian bombardment that targets schools and aims to spread illiteracy and ignorance among the current generation stops.”

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