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Part I: Descriptive Section

The committees established for the year 2000 evaluation:

The cultural committee presided by the council of ministers has decided during its 17th session to establish the "Education for All" committee responsible of accomplishing the year 2000 evaluation. The committee was formed of members of both Education and Foreign Affairs’ ministries as follows:

Dr Sleiman Khateeb:Assistant of the Minister of Education

Dr Clovis Khoury:Director of the organizations in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr Ahmad Elyan Deblo:Director of the cultural administration in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Mr Ahmed el Fakeer:Director of the curricula in the Ministry of Education

Mr Rida Mesky:First Instructor for the Primary Education in the Ministry of Education

The above committee immediately undertook the constitution of specialized working groups responsible of preparing the required reports and indicators, as per the following:

  1. The international efforts in the Basic and Compulsory Education during the last past ten years:
  2. Mr Wasseem Ghezzawi:Director of the primary education

    Mrs Ghada Jaby:Director of the Illiterates and Adults’ Education in the Ministry of Education

    Mr Mahmoud el Breedy:Assistant of the Primary Education Director

    Mrs Fatema el Chebb:Research member

  3. The qualitative report:
  4. Mrs Nabeela Nehme: Head research department

    Mr Khaled Khattab: Research member

    Mr D. Amr Abou Aoun: Research member

  5. The indicators’ report:

Mr Ibrahim el Jedaa:Head of planning department

Mr Ahmed Ghazal: Head of studies department

Miss Marcelle Haddad:Research member

Mrs Ferdawss el Molla:Statistics member

Mr Mamdouh Moubayyed: Head of research department in the central office of statistics – representing the Ministry of Culture

Superior Education

Intermediate Colleges University Education

Vocational Education Vocational College

Technical College Public College

Intermediate Level

Primary Level

Pre-Primary Education

Kindergartens: Facultative & leased Age Educational levels in the Syrian Arab Republic Educational Period

Definitions

  1. Second educational conference for development of education:

The conference was held in Damascus from February 2nd till February 5th, 1998. It is a conference held each 10 years, and aims to evaluate the efforts exerted across the previous year in all the educational fields, and to issue recommendations for the next ten years in order to follow up on the national and international progresses and evolutions.

  1. National strategy to introduce informatics to pre-college education:

The Ministry of Education established this strategy in 1995 in collaboration with UNESCO. The strategy aims to introduce computer science, through a long term plan, to all levels and types of pre-college education, as one of the courses and educational methods designed to support the other courses and to modernize the educational administration, specifically in the field of evaluation and educational management.

  1. Subsequent and integrative approaches of the specialized curricula:

The subsequent approach concerns the university graduates in specific fields who pursue their formation (such as in the Geography, History, Mathematics or Science fields) in the Educational Faculties in order to acquire educational qualification diploma.

The integrative approach concerns the Educational Faculties that establish a comprehensive curriculum which contributes to prepare the teacher thoroughly in both specialized and educational fields; many faculties are presently applying this approach.

  1. Innovative concepts:

The innovative concepts represent all the contemporary trends, among others health, environmental, demographic, vocational, computer and transitory (?) concepts.

  1. Comprehensive education: It is a kind of comprehensive growth of the individual’s personality enabling him to recognize himself as being a part of a world where intertwine sundry issues as well as time and place dimensions. This objective is only reached through an intellectual, collaborative and innovative education where are integrated all the educational courses and their media.

Comprehensive education is based on an educational pattern which transforms the outside world into a mirror that reflects the individual inner world; it is also based on the crucial integration among the following four components:

  1. Time dimension that is the consequence of the past on the present and planning for the future.
  2. Place dimension that represents mutual relationships among countries and populations in the world.
  3. Issues’ dimension that relates to connections and intertwining among the important issues in the world.
  4. Subjective dimension that represents the consequences of the above three dimensions on the individual and his interaction with these dimensions.
  1. Practical health program: Health education is a program aiming to spread consciousness and awareness of the hygienic issues in view of generating a positive effect on the individual’s life, and therefore realizing health stability, and a voluntary harmony between the rhythm of life and a good hygienic practice. The objective is to create a safe hygienic society and ensure health for all its individuals.

Effectively, the health program aims to develop and support the public health protection in the society by applying practical health activities in both scholar and local structures.

  1. Project of animal protection: It is an educational program consisting of the introduction of a technical terminology for animal protection within the educational curricula of both primary and secondary levels. The objective of this project is to protect the Syrian environment and therefore the animal life by ensuring to the upcoming generations a sound technical education enhancing the importance of animal protection and care.
  2. Compulsory education: In 1983, the law #35 stipulated the necessity of ensuring educational opportunities for all students aged 6-12 years’ old in addition to a free-of -charge primary education. The law also emphasized the importance of considering education as a right and national obligation that the parents should respect and apply by enrolling their children in the primary schools at the risk of being punished.
  3. Supportive sections: Supportive sections are classes that embrace the students who have failed in grade II and those who were transferred from grade I after having exhausted all repeating opportunities, in the purpose of enabling them to pass to the other regular sections. The supporting sections were established in some primary schools in order to overcome the scholar retardation of the students and avoid their failure, and therefore impede these two major reasons of out-dropping.
  1. Innovative concepts’ matrices: Innovative concepts’ matrices represent a data net aiming to reveal the concepts presently applied in the educational curricula, in addition to those that should be reinforced or added to the curricula.
  2. Experimenting principle: While setting the new curricula and their appropriate books, the Ministry of Education has lately attempted to apply them in some provinces after training the teachers on these new curricula. The objective of this trial was to determine the competency and level of the new books as well as the students’ acceptance and reaction towards them, and then to proceed to the adequate amendments in order to adapt the books to all students’ needs and levels.
  3. Mixed sections: Mixed sections are sections that gather both males in females in the primary level.
  4. Educational and psychological instructor: He is entitled with a degree in Education and Psychology and dedicated for work in the regressive and secondary schools. His main responsibility is to follow up on:
  1. The students’ learning problems in order to find the adequate solutions for those who are encountering failure in some courses and orient them towards the suitable specialties in accordance with their interests and trends.
  2. The social problems and their repercussions on the learning level and on the students adaptation to the scholar context, environment, and with their colleagues, in order to create a more healthy and blooming atmosphere.
  1. Activity centers for gifted students: activity centers for gifted students are centers that gather a number of gifted students who aspire to exert some activity in the fields where they succeed and excel. The centers offer them the opportunity to practice their hobbies and satiate their hunger to more education and knowledge in the miscellaneous artistic, literary, environmental and sport-related branches.
  2. Practical schools for gifted students: In these schools, the students can practice sundry activities outside the official schedule of their original schools. The objective of these schools is to develop the research and creativity spirit of the children and therefore unveil the hidden talents and discover the gifted students. Some of the most important activities practiced in these schools are: Arts, painting, sculpture, cinema, popular dance, music, sport, science, mathematics, environment, general knowledge, and Arabic language.
  3. Pioneers’ contests: Pioneers’ contests are carried out by "Talaee el Baath" organization, in coordination with the Ministry of Education that organizes these contests for the students of the primary level in order to develop the initiative and positive competition spirit among them. The most creative and talented students are then selected in the schools, regions and provinces respectively. Finally, nation wide contests are organized in miscellaneous fields the winner of which is called "Leader" in the field of his eminence. The Leaders are qualified to represent the country in all the contests held inside or outside the country.
  4. Communicative language: It is the functional language used by all human beings in their daily relationships and different life situations; it is based on the communication and acceptance of the point of views and their transmission to the others.

In this respect, the Ministry of Education endeavors to apply this communicative method on the educational languages (Arabic and foreign) provided for the students and children.

  1. The gifted students’ schools: These schools are opened for gifted students who have achieved the primary education level or graduated from the intermediate level. Students of one school only from each province are selected to join these schools. Their selection is based on many evaluation criteria, among others, the learning and cleverness levels, etc… These schools are equipped with activity halls, distinguished laboratories, and sundry audiovisual supplies, in addition to special computer rooms. Moreover, they have adopted particular enriching programs aiming to enhance the scholar courses and incite the students to succeed and excel on one hand, and to promote the social activity among them on the other hand.
  2. Students with special needs: These are the students who suffer from physical, mental, visual or auditory handicap, and therefore need special care, and require specialized education and learning methods different from those provided for the normal children and students.
  3. Illiterates: An illiterate is every woman or man ignoring the three basic skills: writing, reading and calculating. Consequently, illiterates are supposed to attend special courses where they can learn writing, reading and calculating skills in order to become efficient members in the society.
  4. Mass culture: It is realized by spreading health, environmental, demographic, social and economical awareness among both males and females of the society, and namely adults who did not get any opportunity to attend regular learning schools during their childhood or who out-dropped for some reason from these schools. Mass culture can be diffused through literacy classes, the inauguration of mass culture centers, and the organization of conferences in the cultural centers. It can also be spread by qualifying some authorities to assume the responsibility of diffusing it among the widest range of public via audiovisual and read mass media, i.e. TV, etc…
  5. Ambulant schools: Further to the promulgation of a compulsory law, this type of schools was innovated to serve Bedouins wandering with their cattle, seeking pasture & grazing land.

An ambulant school is usually composed of a classroom large enough to seat 45 students, in addition to a residence for the teacher and other services rooms, all congregated within a trailer dragged by an agricultural tractor or a car or any other medium towards any place.

  1. Equal Opportunities’ principle: All individuals have the right to benefit from equal educational opportunities in the various fields of life. Besides, all students have the right to be provided with the basic knowledge and learning allowing them to break into the labor market.
  2. Educational qualification diploma: The graduates of the specialized literary and scientific colleges obtain this diploma after joining the faculties of educational qualification where they acquire modern and efficient methods of teaching and learning.
  3. Specialization in computer technologies: It is one of the vocations provided by the manufacturing schools and colleges. It provides the student with all the instructions concerning the computer structure, functioning modes, maintenance and programming procedures; it also embraces courses about programming, and maintenance of the equipment and the other units related to the computer.
  4. Computer educational programs: These are illustrative programs established in order to assist the teacher in the explanation and evaluation of his courses, and to help the student to better understand and learn. The Ministry of Education is currently working on the preparation of similar programs to be applied on all the scholar courses.
  1. Twinning principle (double vocational and technical education):In view of the fast and progressive evolutions in the labor market and in order to promote graduates enjoying a high educational level and a satisfactory working experience that responds to the labor market’s requirements, it was suggested to establish a partnership with the national productive companies, in other terms a twinning or double education in the future schools. The idea of double education focuses on the scientific practice that promotes the graduates to the level that suits the market’s requisites and satisfies the growing and rashly evolving needs. All non-educational sectors (production & services sectors) are required to share in this training activity which enables the student to assume his working tasks without needing to undergo a long period of adjustment to that environment.

Part I

  1. Objectives and general trends of the educational policy in the Syrian Arab Republic
    1. Introduction
    2. Basic structural trends
    3. Innovative trends

2- Efforts and activities aiming to spread and promote education in the various basic education levels

    1. Early childhood level
    2. Primary education level
    3. Intermediate level
  1. Efforts and activities aiming to ensure education for children with special needs

4-Efforts and activities in the field of literacy and adults’ education.

  1. Objectives and general trends of the educational policy in the Syrian Arab Republic
    1. Introduction

The Syrian Arab Republic currently witnesses radical political, economical, social and educational changes, namely after the corrective movement lead by his Excellency, the president of the republic, Mr. Hafez el Assad. These changes aim to provide the individual with balanced education, taking into account all those aspects that affect education and are affected by it. Indeed, the presumed economical growth has contributed to increase spending behind education, thus favoring its development. On the other hand, the educational progressions have accentuated the economical and social evolvements.

While the century witnesses speedy blustering and flourishing of knowledge, it’s high time to find modern educational formulas that could match and interact with the progressive scientific evolutions. The objective is to bind the educational process with the global development in order to meet the challenges and overcome all the setbacks. In this respect, the general trends of the educational policy in the Syrian Arab Republic are divided into 2 sections:

1-2-1 Basic Structural trends: represented by:

  1. Article 37 of the Syrian Arab Republic Constitution has defined the educational concepts as follows:
  1. Education is a right ensured by the State. It is free of charge at all its levels and compulsory at the primary level; the State aims to reflect the compulsory aspect on other levels. It also supervises the education and orients it to match with the social and productive needs and requirements.
  1. Article 21 of the Syrian Arab Republic Constitution has defined the objectives of education as follows:
  1. The educational and cultural system aims to build a socialist national Arabic generation, scientifically oriented, attached to its history and land, proud of its patrimony, and satiated with the struggling spirit. Such generation is able to realize the aims of its nation relating to Union, Freedom, and Socialism, and contribute to the service and evolution of the mankind.
  1. In the light of the above capital objectives, principles of democracy of education and equality of opportunities were stipulated as follows:
  1. Compulsory education at the primary level, from the first to the sixth year.
  2. Free of charge education at all levels.
  3. Adults’ literacy.
  4. Equality of opportunities for all the citizens without any exception, in order to enable them to proceed with their education in accordance with their potentials, capabilities and interests.
  1. The Syrian Arab Republic is currently working on the implementation of the International Convention for Children’s Rights (after having joined it with reservation upon articles 14 & 21). For perspective, it is endeavoring to incorporate these rights appropriately in the scholar books.

1-2-2 Innovative orientations:

    1. The first educational conference, held in 1987, has defined a number of directions to develop the contents of the educational practice in terms of its innovation and usage in a way to contribute to the social and economical building process. This contribution is accomplished through the development of the individual’s reasoning, technical and scientific skills; on the other hand, it necessitates enriching his life experience in order to enable him to exhibit a balanced attitude and therefore perceive the century’s facts and achievements. Consequently, he contributes efficiently in the exploitation of his environment.
    2. In the light of above, education was diffused to reach even the smallest housing compound. Its diffusion required applying various flexible and efficient methods, enriching the scholar programs with innovating concepts, updating the teaching methods, training the teachers, introducing the foreign language to grades V and VI, hiring specialized teachers in these grades, introducing informatics as a basic scholar course, and finally, expanding the planning of vocational educational and promoting its techniques and programs progressively.
      * With respect to the continuous evaluation of the educational status and the preparation of a prospective strategic vision paving the way to the 21st century, the second educational conference was held in order to promote the education in the year 1998, under the auspices of his Excellency the president of the republic Hafez el Assad. The following conclusions were revealed:

    3. Conventional education doesn’t fall in line with the fastness of knowledge bursting.
    4. The diversity and branching of the specialties require more flexible educational curricula responding to the global development requisites.
    5. Since the outstanding development of technology enjoins to provide the learner with various skills, the Conference presented a prospective vision of education and teaching reflected by the directions and recommendations it has approved. Accordingly, the Ministry of Education prepared a practical plan in order to implement these recommendations in the upcoming ten years:
    1. Continue to introduce informatics to the education as per "the national strategy of introducing informatics to Education". As a matter of fact, it was important to emphasize the preparation of qualified teachers and establish training halls furnished with the most modern equipment.
    2. Hold the first educational conference in 1987 especially that educational conferences offer an important opportunity to discuss the success of the current plans and or set new ones.
    3. Qualify new teachers through the Faculties of Education. Accordingly, three new Faculties of Education were founded, and appropriate curricula of specialization were set to train teachers and educators on the basis of the integrative and subsequent approaches.
    4. Expand the training of the educational working personnel through extended training sessions sometimes drawn out to a one-year period.
    5. Devote more concern to the educational techniques. For perspective, 5 plants for technical production were inaugurated employing national labor hand.
    6. Continue to update the curricula and books in accordance with the latest scientific developments.
    7. Continue to directly or indirectly introduce to the books innovative concepts of the environmental, demographic, health, vocational, computer, and transitional (?) education.
    8. Get connected to the world through educational projects such as the project of comprehensive education and health program, or the demographic educational projects and the animal raising projects.

2- Efforts and activities aiming to spread and promote education at the various basic education levels

    1. Early childhood level:

Age break 3 to 5 years old.

2-1-1 Efforts aiming to diffuse education at this level:

Although this level was excluded from the scholar plan defined for the three educational levels, the Ministry of Education, in collaboration and coordination with the other concerned authorities, has provided all the possible facilities needed to open kindergartens, in accordance with the provisions and directives of the Private Education law. Indicators 1 & 2 show that education at this level was largely diffused in the cities thanks to the private sector potentials whose institutions are supervised by the government.

2-1-2 Efforts aiming to improve the educational quality at this level:

This bids to:

    1. Train qualified female instructors for kindergartens in Teachers Colleges, and plan to train them in the future in special departments of the Faculties of Education of the Syrian Arab Republic.
    2. Establish special curricula for this level taking into account the child’s contemporary psychological, physical, and educational needs.
    3. Define a group of working guides to serve the kindergarten’s teacher, and prepare special booklets for the three age breaks’ at this level.
    4. Emphasize and promote the educational supervision on kindergarten institutions by specialized educational instructors.
    1. Primary education level:

Age break 6 to 12 years old.

2-2-1 Efforts aiming to diffuse education at this level:

The Syrian Arab Republic expressed a marked interest in the implementation of the "Education for All" principle, and succeeded relatively to hinder the acute danger of illiteracy. Indeed, the Syrian Constitution stipulates that education is the right of every child; it is also compulsory and free of charge at the primary level.

The attached indicators reflect the tremendous efforts exerted to implement the "Education for All" principle, represented by:

A – The law of compulsory education: Law # 35, 1981.

This law stipulates the compulsory aspect of the primary education for all Syrian children and similar children (the Palestinians residing in Syria), aged between 6 and 12 years. It also stipulates the elimination of all impediments that might hinder their education, and preparation to meet the century’s requirements. Moreover, the law casts the responsibility of supervising the educational process and providing its requirements on every public or private authority. It also provides for the sustained education of children attending schools until the end of the primary level, even if they were past 10 years old. Article 5 of the same law defines the sanctions imposed on every parent who infringes its provisions. Similarly, article 6 inflicts prison and payment of a financial fine on every person who hires a child in the age of primary education; in case of subsequent offense, the article brings forwards the evidence of a more severe penalty and closure of the place where the child was hired.

B – The slipping scholar year:

This experience was applied on 56 primary schools in Hama. It aims to outline a scholar year that matches with the agricultural and economical seasons in some demographic agglomerations of the Syrian Arab Republic (for instance, the cotton harvest season). The population of these congregations is mainly constituted of cattle herders who settle in their villages from month 11 until the end of month 5. Therefore, their scholar year begins at 1/11 and finishes at the end of the month 5, without any holiday. A special curriculum was established for these schools and allowed to take in many male and female children and thus avoid out-drops.

C –Schools construction and diffusion:

The number of schools in Syria increased from 9683 school in 1990 to 10995 school by the end of 1998.

The diffusion of primary schools is concentrated in the distant and secluded areas where were built 4850 schools that lack some classes and are divided as follows:

1041 school

With only one teacher

1651 school

With two teachers

978 school

With 3 teachers

699 school

With 4 teachers

481 school

With 5 teachers

Some of these schools are ambulant, established on caravans or roving tents that accompany the Bedouins during their wandering to educate their sons and daughters. The attached indicators show that female education ratios are equal to male education ratios.

D –Budgets:

Indicator /8/ reveals an increase in the ratio of budgets reserved for primary education in relation to the general budget of education. The budget reserved for education amounts to 12% of the state’s general budget, among which 6% are reserved for primary education, and around 1.6 % for spending on the primary education from the global national revenue (Ref to table /7-8/ of the attached indicators).

E –Training teachers:

The number of teachers increased from 101325 in 1990 to 122249 by the end of the year 1999. Therefore, the average number of students for each teacher amounted roughly to 23 pupils.

Teachers are usually trained in specialized institutes for a period of 2 years after the secondary level. Yet, they will be trained henceforth for a period of 4 years after the secondary level in the faculties of education that were lately founded, in accordance with an integrative plan relative to the training of teachers and instructors in the faculties of education.

2-2-2 Efforts aiming to improve education:

The diffusion of education stimulated interest in the educational content provided for the students. This interest was reflected through:

A- The integration of the specialized teacher at the primary educational level:

In view of the progressive educational evolutions, it has become imperative to integrate the specialized teacher in the primary school in order to teach some similar courses, namely all courses for both grades V & VI, and some specific courses such as sport and music for primary classes.

B- Introduction of foreign language:

Opening to the outside world, being impressed by it and influence it, in association with the social and economical evolutions, enjoin the graduate of any educational level to possess linguistic skills, and to devote more interest to the education and introduction of foreign languages to both grades V & VI.

A first attempt in this context was endeavored in 1991/1992. Then, in 1993/1994, a more comprehensive attempt was undertaken, after tremendous efforts to train the teachers and drive them to the secluded rural areas. Evaluative statistics relating to the first graduated generation of the intermediate level revealed in 1998 a 10% increase in the ratio of graduates who have studied foreign languages as of grade V.

C- Supportive sections:

Studies have proved that scholar failure is one of the main reasons behind student’s out-drops. Supporting sections were therefore created in order to assist the students who have failed in their grade more than once (when the bylaw provides the student with the right to repeat the grade for another year). Effectively, the students promoted to grade II without deserving success in grade I after two years of study are gathered into special sections where competent teachers supervise them and orient them towards the basic skills (reading, writing, calculation). Additionally, they coordinate with their parents in order to avoid further failure and promote them to the level of their peers in the regular sections. All procedures in these sections are secretly implemented in order to avoid any psychological repercussions on those students. The experience was successfully applied in four provinces and eradicated out-drop cases in all the schools where it was brought to bear.

D- Rural schools:

Rural schools aim to enhance interaction and relationship between school and the surrounding environment by direct usage of the provided information. The number of rural schools presently amounts to 401 school; all efforts are focused on the students of grades IV, V & VI who are trained to practice agricultural skills and other rural works, in coordination with the family. The rural schools also introduce the environmental concept to the students according to a scientific method that meets the necessities of the school and its local environment and reacts with it. Theoretical and practical agriculture courses are also taught in these schools in addition to other rural manufactures matching with the local environment requirements. The opening of a rural school requires the availability of an appropriate piece of land next to the school; this land will be practically cultivated, and its revenue is allocated to students, teachers and families, as per the following:

30% to the students – 10% to the teachers and administrative staff – 5% to the families – 30% to the purchase of equipment – 15% to the development of the local environment – 10% to the general treasury.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that these schools are supervised by a number of specialized agronomists ready to offer the necessary technical assistance in the field.

E- Updating the decided scholar curricula and books:

It is undoubtedly evident that the training and qualification of the teachers need to be supported by a regular updating of the decided scholar curricula and books. Innovating concepts are therefore indirectly introduced to the curricula and books according to coordinated procedures, as follows:

    1. The Ministry of Education has assigned the responsibility of updating and promoting the curricula and writing the new scholar books to a supreme committee chaired by the Minister of Education. Among the committee’s members figure a number of the Minister’s assistants, the involved directors of the central administration, the concerned instructors, some members of the parliament, and other university professors, all responsible of keeping a close eye on the updating procedures of the scholar curricula and books.
    2. The responsibility of setting new curricula for each course was assigned to expanded and specialized committees formed by field workers, university professors and researchers.
    3. The new curricula are presented to the provinces’ subcommittees to study them and give their comments.
    4. Other common committees were established to discuss the reports submitted by the different provinces’ subcommittees and present them to the supreme committee for final approval.
    5. In addition to the above, technical committees were established in 1993 to prepare matrices of innovating concepts relative to environmental, health, vocational, and informatics education from the first until the ninth year. These committees have indeed succeeded to:
    1. Define the concepts already enrolled in the decided books.
    2. Define the concepts already enrolled in the decided books, but that need to be improved.
    3. Define the concepts that should be added to the decided curricula.

It is noteworthy that many new concepts were taken into account such as radicalism and sustained education concepts relative to demographic education, in addition to systems and logarithm concepts relative to informatics education.

    1. Finally, other committees formed by field teachers, instructors, university professors, and coordinators were established to write the new books, introduce the innovating concepts to them, and work progressively on writing the books of the primary education level, starting with grade I. Effectively, by the end of 1999, these committees had finalized experimental books for grade IV.

F- The experimentation principle:

The supreme committee approved the experimentation principle to be applied on each and every scholar book before adopting it. Accordingly, Grade I books were experimented in 1996 in order to be circulated after being discussed in the following year.

The experimental samples were chosen among 6 provinces: Damascus, Aleppo, Homs, Latakia, Dara’a & Haskeh. The experiment was applied on 6000 students; Arabic language, mathematics and science books were experimented on female, male and mixed sections in the different provinces referred to in the city and suburbs. On the other hand, in the purpose of implementing the concept of random choice, a first category of the population went trough the experimentation of one course, a second one through the experimentation of two courses, and a third one through the experimentation of all of the three courses. Follow up was assigned to a Central Experimentation Committee in the central administration and other subcommittees in all the remaining provinces. The committee for central experimentation discusses and adopts the comments issued by the subcommittees on the experimented books, and submits them to the supreme committee responsible of updating the curricula and books before final adoption.

A double experimentation method was implemented for the purpose of acquiring a through-and-through good book. For perspective, after one year of spreading the books, some provinces are randomly chosen to be the scene of direct field meetings with the teachers responsible of teaching in the new books, in order to delimit the difficulties emanating from the field application. These meetings take on more importance because the Minister or his assistant chairs them. The comments expressed for finalizing the book are therefore taken into account and applied. Up to this time, many books were adopted as follows:

1996/1997: Adoption of Grade I experimental books.

1997/1998: Spreading Grade I books’ and testing Grade II books’ on the same sample.

1998/1999: Finalization of Grade I books’, spreading Grade II books’, and experimenting the third primary class books respectively.

G- Designing educational techniques:

The educational aids offered to students play a crucial role in the application of the scholar curricula, and an even more important role in the first four primary grades specifically. Since the concept of educational democracy is implemented in the purpose of transmitting the educational aids evenly to the utmost rural area and Center City, it was important to diffuse numberless techniques on all schools in order to apply the new curricula. Consequently, five specialized centers were established to produce new educational techniques:

      1. The main Center in Kaboun near Damascus.
      2. Damascus Center for the production of natural science aids.
      3. Homs Center for the production of mathematics aids.
      4. Aleppo Center for the production of physics and chemistry aids.
      5. Latakia Center for the production of physics and chemistry tools as well.

H- Preparing educational computer programs:

The innovating process was associated with the preparation of computer programs for both grades I & II, based on the usage of computer and the diffusion of some of these programs on the educational channel supposed to broadcast during 3 hours daily. The next year 1999-2000 shall witness the diffusion, on the educational channel, of some courses decided in the curricula of both grades I & II, as follows:

    1. The entire Arabic language program of the first primary class.
    2. The entire science program of the first primary class.
    3. The entire mathematics program of the first primary class.

This process will gain more ground during the upcoming years so as to embrace all courses and therefore help the student and family to better assimilate the course in order to progress in education.

I- Teachers’ training:

The optimal implementation of the new programs necessitates an educational training of the teachers on two levels:

    1. Training the educational instructors at the best implementation of the new programs by explaining the required objectives and the best methods to execute the new programs. Another training is also required for the usage of the established aids which are divided into 3 categories:
    2. Pre-designed aids – aids that are being designed by the teacher – aids designed by the students by means of the local environmental resources, sometimes in collaboration with the family, in view of promoting his capacity to better assimilate the course, and therefore qualifying him to practice auto-learning.

    3. Training all the teachers to teach the new programs and adopted methods in local sessions supervised by the educational instructors as well as the first instructors of the central administration.

J- Promoting orientation and supervision:

This enjoins to:

    1. Limit the quorum of educational instructors to 100 teacher instead of 150, in the purpose of enhancing the field follow up and monitoring the right execution of the decided curricula.
    2. Innovate a post for the educational and psychological instructor. In this respect, a first experience was attempted in Tartous and Latakia provinces.
    3. Study the possibility to innovate a post for the Manager’s assistant in the primary school; the latter will assume the responsibility of applying and preserving the educational aids, and also watch over the right execution of the extra-curricular activities in accordance with the recommendation of the second educational conference. Indeed, the Ministry is currently the next steps required for the implementation of this recommendation.

K- Promoting extra-curricular activities:

The main objective of this measure is to define the students personal capabilities not only in order to promote the execution of the decided programs, but also to unveil and develop the hidden talents, enhance the scientific trends of the students and therefore provide them with diversified skills. Some of these extra-curricular activities are:

    1. The gifted students’ activity centers established in the schools that gather a sufficient number of talented students interested in the practice of similar activities in the field where they have recorded distinct success. Different branches of these centers are available, to name only some: the scientific, technical, literary, environmental and sport-related branches.
    2. The practical schools for gifted students’ activities: Students can practice in these schools different activities outside the official scholar hours originally applied in their schools. The objective is to promote the research and innovation spirit of the children via sundry activities such as:
    3. Arts: painting, sculpture, theater & cinema, for example mappet Theater, popular dance and music.

      Sports: gymnastics and swimming.

      Science, mathematics, environment, general knowledge, and arabic language.

      Expression and art of speech: this activity is reserved for the brilliant students who are selected on the basis of specific criteria upon the recommendation of their teacher. The Ministry of Education has established for these schools specific programs that tally with the intelligence level of the students.

    4. Pioneers contests: Pioneers contests are organized by "Talaee el Baath" organization in coordination with the Ministry of Education in order to promote the positive competitive spirit among children. In this respect, the brilliant and creative students are selected to participate in these contests upon the respective approvals of the school, region and province. Then, nation wide contests are organized in all fields such as art of speech, mathematics, language, chess, etc… An entertaining camp and other training trips outside the country are awarded to the winners.
    5. L- Interest in the educational and evaluative activities:

      Educational and evaluative activities are organized in coordination with the Arab, regional and international specialized organizations in the purpose of identifying the world’s last educational innovations, and applying them for the realization of a balanced education. Evaluative projects are also highly appreciated by the curricula planners thanks to their enriching and beneficial revenues.

      1- Comprehensive education:

      It promotes the individual’s self-awareness and of all the factors that might affect him or be affected by him in his country and in the world. Comprehensive education deals with the effective methods necessary to enhance the educational revenue and the student’s relationship with his school and colleagues. Therefore, it incites the student to rely on himself, substitute competition to cooperation, and acquire the necessary skills to understand others and improve his life. The Syrian Arab Republic firstly tested this method in the fifth primary class. Hence, sample courses in all subjects of the decided curricula and appropriate books were set and experimented in three provinces (Damascus, rural areas of Damascus, Konaytra). The next step will involve other provinces, the project being executed in coordination with UNICEF office in Damascus.

      2- Project of a practical health program:

      This projects aims to promote the health education concepts among the students and therefore enable them to serve themselves, their families, as well as the environment of their schools. On the other hand, it aims to enhance self-reliance, team work and responsibility skills. In this respect, the Syrian Arab Republic has established a 10 years progressive plan in order to carry out this huge project and implement it on all primary schools of the country.

      3-Evaluative tests of science, mathematics and Arabic language:

      The Syrian Arab Republic has participated into many evaluative tests of the learning level organized by the Arab Organization for Education, Culture & Science. The tests involved several courses of the fourth primary class, among others mathematics, sciences and Arabic language, and aimed to evaluate the students’ acquired knowledge and skills in these courses.

      M- Interest in the scholar libraries:

      The need to enrich the scholar libraries and emphasize the importance of reading presently captures all interest and attention in order to promote the student’s culture and widen the horizon of his knowledge and skills. In this respect, many measures were undertaken, to name only some:

      1-The constitution of committees responsible of animating the schools' libraries, headed by the Educational Director in the province.

      2-Providing the committees with some budgets that will be allocated behind the purchase of the appropriate books.

      3-Supplying the central administration of the libraries with all the important reference books.

      4- Applying experiments on the comprehensive library, as it was the case in Deyr El Zour since 1993/1994 until now. Effectively, eight libraries were established in the province in the purpose of promoting the primary education types, instigating the students to read qualitative books and educational worthwhile tales, and ultimately assist the teachers to ameliorate their methods and techniques. In addition, the libraries were organized and supplied with all the necessary requirements so as to serve some 3 to 4 schools.

      N- Major educational experiments:

      1) The Ambulant schools and wandering Bedouins tents, previously discussed.

      2) The supportive sections.

      3) The manual work center, as applied in the city of Katna near Damascus. It aims to promote the quality of education and to bind the mental development to the manual work from a comprehensive perspective. The first attempt in this field was undertaken in 1993-1994. It aimed to provide all the students of the primary fifth and sixth grades in that city with the technical manual skills relative to electricity, sewing, knitting, and other rural works, on a daily basis, during two hours outside the official scholar schedule. It is worth mentioning that the experiment has acquired the satisfaction of the parents or the persons in charge of the students.

    6. The transitory (?) and practical educational seminars: A training session for all teachers was held in the province of Deir El Zour. The session tackled the transitory and practical educational methods in coordination with the Ministry of Education and "Shell" company, and came to adopt practical methods to promote the transitory educational concepts among the students. Subsequently, practical experiments were applied with the participation of the students themselves in order to ensure the right implementation of the recommendations. Besides, instructors from all the provinces attended this session that will be also held in all the other provinces. Finally, booklets and leaflets were distributed by the end of the session to all students of the province as well as the students of other distinguished provinces.
    1. The intermediate educational level:

From 12 to 14 years old – 3 years of education.

No major changes were recorded at this level at the contrary of the primary education level that witnessed crucial transformations. Moreover, although the intermediate level shall be the scene of important changes regarding the training of the teacher or the decided curricula, only the following transformations have been reported:

2-3-1 Updating the teaching methods and books relating to foreign languages (English and French):

Further to the introduction of the communicative language, the books of foreign were updated accordingly, and enough tapes and recorders were distributed on approximately 2000 intermediate school in the purpose of promoting foreign languages’ education. Qualitative training sessions for teachers were also organized in this context.

2-3-2 Gifted students’ schools:

At the beginning of the scholar year 1998/1999, mixed intermediate schools for eminent students was founded in each and every province. The eminent students were selected on the basis of proper evaluative criteria such as the testing of the learning and intelligence levels. These schools are provided with activity halls, distinguished laboratories, various audio-visual equipment, and rooms for teaching computer science, that all contribute to enrich the scholar courses and incite the students to excel. The enriched courses are not taught according to the traditional class methods, but through teams of students and special projects executed each team, in order to promote teamwork spirit among and the students ameliorate the teams’ expertise.

2-3-2 The participation into international evaluative contests in mathematics and science:

The students of the second intermediate class have participated into international contests for the learning levels in mathematics and science, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and UNICEF. The objectives behind these contests is to unveil the teaching reality of these two courses, especially that 75% of the primary classes graduates join the intermediate level to reach an average of 34 student in each section. The intermediate level is not compulsory and qualifies its participants to get the certificate of the intermediate level. Only 30% of graduates of this level opt for the general education, while the remaining 70% prefer to go for technical and vocational education.

The above contests have revealed the necessity of raising the students’ learning level relative to measuring concepts in mathematics, and astronomy in physics. The concerned committees responsible of writing the books of the primary levels were advised to work in this direction.

3-Efforts and activities relative aiming to ensure education for children with special needs (handicapped):

The Syrian Arab Republic is profoundly concerned about the individuals with special needs for human, economical and developmental considerations. Article 46 of the Syrian Constitution guarantees to this category, without any exception, the same rights acknowledged for all Syrian citizens as per article 47 relative to cultural, social, and health services.

The results of 1994 statistics reveal the presence of 174587 various visual, auditory, mental and physical handicaps.

In this respect, several legislative decrees, laws and decisions were issued to ensure better conditions for this category thanks to:

    1. The classical institutions for education and rehabilitation of blind.
    2. The private educational institutes for deaf and dumb.
    3. The mental development institutes for backward children.
    4. The physical handicaps’ centers.

All the above institutions are related to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, and take care of children suffering from handicaps exceeding the moderate degree hindering their integration in the regular schools.

Other national institutions also participate to take care of this categories, to name only some:

    1. Blind care associations.
    2. Backward children associations.

It is worth mentioning that the majority of previous institutions are boarding institutions that ensure to their members all their needs, for example, residence, education and training.

Moreover, the basic law for civil servants issued in 1985 includes provisions enjoining to employ the handicapped in the organs of the government at an average of 4% of the total number of employee, in order to promote a complete integration of this category within the society.

4-Efforts and activities in the field of literacy and adults’ education.

4-1 Qualitative and quantitative national development:

Qualitative development:

The Arabic and International evolutions were accompanied by a qualitative literacy development in the following fields:

4-1-1 Developing the curricula, writing new books for both basic and follow up levels, and the stage following release from illiteracy:

The Ministry of Culture adopted developed basics for the establishment of adults literacy programs. The same basics were applied while writing of the new books for both basic and follow up levels, under the title of "Welcome Education". The introduction of special concepts for demographic education into the literacy programs was also taken into account; therefore, basic information was brought up to the new reading books of the basic level, and other advanced information was added to the new books of the follow up level. A guide for teachers was also designed for both basic and follow up levels, as part of the execution of the previous two projects in collaboration with the United Nations Demography Fund and the UNESCO. The Ministry also laid out a new mathematics book that was evidently evaluated, printed and distributed.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Culture has shown special interest to the stage that follows release from illiteracy. This concern is firstly reflected by the efforts, cooperation and coordination manifested between the Ministry and the other parties and national literacy organizations. On the other hand, it resonates from the execution of the foremost experimental literacy projects relative to literacy and vocational qualification of rural women, in collaboration with the General Women Union and the other Arab and international organizations.

The above proves that:

    1. The new programs match with the recent literacy evolutions.
    2. The literacy programs have improved in such a manner to cater for the basic educational needs for adults, support the scholar courses, promote self-education, and allocate more attention to the stage that follows release from literacy.
    3. The programs have been profoundly enriched with important information concerning health, environment, demography, development, and women social role, and that scientific courses offered to the students were clearly improved and simplified.
    4. 4-1-2 Training:

    5. Training sessions were organized for the teachers working in the field of literacy and adults’ education.
    6. In the light of the international announcement on "Education for All", and as part of the execution of:1-demographic educational projects in collaboration with the United Nations Demography Fund and the UNESCO, and, 2- health education projects in coordination with UNICEF, the Ministry of Culture pursued the training of teachers working in the field of literacy and adults’ education, in coordination with the concerned national and international organizations.
    7. Training sessions were organized for those teachers.
    8. These teachers were also entitled to attend the training sessions, Arabic sessions, and scholar seminars held in and outside the country.
    9. Round tables were organized to contribute to implement the concept of "Education for All".
    10. It is worth mentioning that many workshops, central and subsidiary training sessions have focused on the richness of the knowledge and skills that the literacy teachers enjoy with respect to demographic, environmental and health aspects. Finally, it is noticeable that the training sessions embraced all authorities concerned with literacy and adults’ education in both official institutions and popular organizations.

    11. Training sessions were organized for male and female teachers of literacy classes:
    12. The Ministry of Culture endeavors, in collaboration with the literacy offices in the provinces and the concerned popular organizations, to organize training sessions of a two-weeks’ duration. The objective of the sessions is to qualify literacy teachers in accordance with an appropriate program focusing on the scientific aspect, but also tackling the theoretical aspect relative to basic subjects of literacy and adults’ education. It is noteworthy that the majority of participants in these sessions were females.

      This program was updated with many subjects related to demographic and health education, as part of the execution of a project aiming to integrate the demographic concepts in the literacy program, in collaboration with the United Nations Demography Fund, UNESCO, and UNICEF, as previously mentioned.

      4-1-3 Execution of foremost and experimental literacy projects relating to literacy and vocational qualification of women, specifically rural ones:

      The applied strategies swivel around literacy and vocational qualification of women, specifically rural women, in the following fields:

    13. Awareness about the importance of the educational and training opportunities that are offered.
    14. Organization of training sessions for male and female teachers.
    15. Organization of training sessions for studies.
    16. Effective field applications.
    17. These practices contribute to promote the knowledge and skills added to the studies during the educational period in several fields.

    18. Cultivation of fields and follow up on all their growth stages.
    19. Preparation of dairy products, learning the appropriate conservation methods and the production of dairy products derivatives.
    20. Fruits conservation and dehydration methods.
    21. Households economy, commercial calculations, and cooperatives.
    22. First aid.
    23. Child’s care throughout all his age stages.
    24. Mass cultural seminars: mass cultural activity embraces a number of seminars aiming to spread health, social, economical and legal awareness.
    25. Vocational sessions.
    26. Free subjective reading of booklets dealing with subjects directly related to the women’s daily life. These booklets are published within adults’ education series.
    27. (Educational truths and packages) – (Ambulant educational units) – (Popular theater).

    28. Pursuing the training of the women who benefited from the production stage and contributed to the production and marketing process.
    29. The Ministry of Culture implemented the experimental foremost experimental literacy projects relative to literacy and vocational qualification of rural women, in collaboration with the General Feminine Union, the concerned Arab and international organizations (ALESCO), and (UNESCO – United Nations Developmental Program – UNIFIM – ECFED). The objective of these projects is to animate the society in the rural environment which witnesses increased women illiteracy, and therefore requires more efforts for the development of rural women. Once released from illiteracy, rural women will play and effective role in the cultural, economical and social fields after having acquired educational and vocational skills that enable them to exert productive activities and therefore improve their living level and that of their environment and society. The same projects, executed in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture, the General Feminine Union & UNICEF, contributed to eradicate illiteracy of girls and women in some selected villages in specific areas of specific provinces. Moreover, they contributed to promote their vocational qualification, improve their health awareness level and provide them with various health services. One of the projects was executed in Tartous during 1994-1995, another one was executed in the Aleppo (Mountain of Hass). Other projects were previously implemented in other provinces (Deir Al Zour, Hamah, Edlep, Lattakia) in the purpose of eradicating rural women illiteracy in selected villages in accordance with specific basis.

      The following three activities constitute an integrated literacy program (Alphabetical literacy, training on basic skills, mass culture).

      Besides, all the mentioned projects have proven that:

    30. Binding literacy and vocational qualification is the basic motive behind the participation of many individuals, especially women, in literacy programs.
    31. It is very important not to dissociate literacy from training, because both work together in such a manner that reading is used in skills training in order to promote self-practice of the job eventually.
    32. Mass culture plays an important role in spreading health, environmental, demographic, social and economical awareness among both males and females of the society.
    33. It is obvious that the categories that most need demographic awareness include illiterates, specifically mothers who urgently have to understand the relationship among the number of family members and their income, and the importance of preserving the mother’s and children health through birth control. They are also required to be aware of the need to limit early marriages as a basic step, and to show more concern about improving women education, qualification, and integration in the development process. As a matter of fact, women constitute a conclusive element for resolving the demographic and developmental problems in general. In the light of all these facts, the Ministry of Culture proceeded to the execution of a project aiming to integrate demographic awareness within adults’ literacy programs, in collaboration with the United Nations Demographic Fund and the UNESCO. The accomplishment of this project reflects the interest displayed towards demographic education outside the schools, and also reveals the importance of defining the necessary knowledge, and namely studies, required for literacy classes.

      Another project was executed in 1992 in the purpose of enhancing demographic awareness in literacy and adults’ social educational programs. Other projects in this field are also being executed since the end of the year 1997.

      4-2 Quantitative development:

      The quantitative development was associated with a qualitative one deriving from the diversification of practices and experiments, and drawing its contents from the contemporary issues and their repercussions on the illiterates life, in order to promote their awareness and provide them with the necessary tools to face their results. This qualitative development primarily aims to satisfy the basic educational needs of youngsters and adults. Thereupon, it is necessary to take into account the diversity of these needs, and to ensure the flexibility compatible with all conditions and situations of their daily life, in order to enable them to defy problems by means of knowledge, proficiency, technique, and upright inclinations and values.

      Effectively, the statistic reports emanating from the central office for statistics in 1991 reveal the following ratios of illiteracy split by age breaks (>10 years) and sex:

      Males /Females/Total

      10.3 %/30.7 %/20.1 %

      On the other hand, the statistics reports relative to 1995 reveal the following ratios of illiteracy also split by age breaks (>10 years) and sex:

      Males /Females/Total

      9.40 %/25.87 %/17.35 %

      Finally, the statistics reports relative to 1998 reveal a decrease of 1.4 % in the illiteracy ratio.

      The supreme committee for illiteracy has approved the national plan for literacy aiming to eradicate illiteracy from the Syrian Arab Republic by the beginning of the year 2000. The plan consists of promoting the illiterates to the level that allows them to pursue their education, improve their life style, and finally contribute to the development of their society. The implementation of this project thrusts to:

    34. Provide enough educational opportunities for all illiterates (males & females) aged between 13 and 45 years, and all quasi-illiterates of the same age break who are only able to read. In this respect, illiterates (males & females) are required to join the basic classes for a 6 months period and follow up classes for a period of a 3 months period, while quasi-illiterates, they are only required to join the follow up classes. With regard to this, a special care is shown for the provinces that witness a high level of illiteracy, namely illiteracy of young girls aged between 13 and 19 years and mothers aged between 20 and 29 years.
    35. Evaluate and promote the system of autonomous follow up subsequent to the literacy stage, and encourage the new literates and the dropouts to join an open educational system or practice self-education.
    36. Apply a quantitative expansion of the training opportunities in the purpose of creating and diversifying the productive life skills in accordance with the social and environmental conditions, and endeavor to associate these skills to the reading, writing and calculus concepts.
    37. Emphasize the educational and social communication between the regular students and the new literates by promoting the popular communication media and enabling the family members to acquire the knowledge, values and means necessary for ensure a better life and a sustained and right development.
    38. Pursue collaboration between the official and the popular authorities and, consolidate their common responsibility in eradicating illiteracy. Besides, promote coordination among all parties in order to establish local and national networks aiming to improve the common programs and provide both individuals and groups with the suitable and efficient tools required to meet their needs and those of their environment and society.
    39. Ensure field and environmental training for active teachers in the field of their specialization, in order to promote their potentials, outline their needs, define the educational activities, and finally, set, select and implement curricula and evaluate their results.
    40. 4-2 National adults’ education:

      4-2-1 Adults education from the governmental perspective:

      The expansion and growing importance of adults’ education induced a change in the nature of adults and sustained education. As a matter of fact, the latter became increasingly associated to diversified activities, and seized a growing interest of all ministries and public sector authorities. This interest was reflected by the establishment of vocational and specialized training center, and by the administration and productivity development. Moreover, qualification training programs were organized in the purpose of satisfying, qualitatively and quantitatively, the economical and social development needs relating to all educational specialties and vocational skills

      The expected objectives behind the above measures are:

      A-prepare the workers in all technical, practical and specialized fields and provide them with the appropriate skills necessary to assist them in the practice of their profession, improve their performance level, and realize the objectives of the public authority to which they refer.

      B-complement and enhance the information and knowledge related to the responsibilities and objectives of the public authorities.

      C-Promote the individual and collective skills and benefit from the modern technologies.

      D-Prepare new and competent teachers able to assume the new public responsibilities and tasks, and provide them with new skills and information compatible with their latest assignments.

      4-2-2 Adults education from the perspective of the popular organizations:

      The popular organizations recognize the importance of adults’ education, and assume in this field a basic responsibility in realizing the big objectives expected from it. Consequently, the nature of work of these organizations tallies with adults’ education requirements.

      Some of the popular organizations are:

    41. The General Union of Labor Syndicates.
    42. The General Union of Peasants.
    43. The General Union of Women.
    44. The Union of Revolutionary Youngsters.
    45. The National Union of the Syrian Students.
    46. The Teachers’ syndicate.

The final report includes statistical findings relating to qualitative and quantitative development.


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