Manbij – The Manbij Education Committee has reopened dozens of schools in Manbij and its countryside in northern Syria. Local activists and officials said that progress was largely due to the efforts of local demining teams.
Students have been deprived of their right to education since the Islamic State (ISIS) seized Manbij three years ago. On August 12, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) captured Manbij city from ISIS militants concluding a 73-day-long campaign.
ISIS left mines and improvised explosives in Manbij schools as part of their scorched earth campaign. The Education Committee said that while tens of schools are safe and have reopened, their work goes on.
Aliya Aboud, a primary school director in Manbij, told ARA News that the total number of schools in Manbij and its countryside is around 400. “We have been able to clear dozens of schools inside the city after dismantling leftover ISIS explosives,” Aboud said. “The work will continue until all schools are prepared to be relaunched.”
The Education Committee is rapidly scaling up its efforts to absorb local and displaced youth. More than 5,000 teachers are expected to start teaching throughout Manbij and its countryside. Those teachers have been charged with educating over 40,000 children who have registered for the 2016-2017 school year. More than 140 schools have been prepared to receive students from different grades and different levels of aptitude.
Miriam Muhammad, a teacher, told ARA News: “An increasing number of students have been registered to complete their education in Manbij. However, their [studies] have deteriorated due to the interruption of education during the past three years [under ISIS].”
In the short-term, the schools will return to teaching the pre-ISIS Syrian curriculum. While Manbij’s youth are getting caught up, a new curriculum will be prepared. This local curriculum with take the region’s cultural diversity into consideration. According to the Education Committee, school books are expected to be provided by the self-administrations in Kobane and Qamishli.
The US-led coalition has been providing humanitarian assistance to civilians in Manbij since early September. In addition to hunger and landmines, Manbij residents have had to cope with severe medicine shortages. However, reopening the schools has purportedly given hope to the people of Manbij. It signals the gradual return of normal life to the area and a significant investment in the future.
Reporting by: Enwer Omar | Source: ARA News
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