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   Syria
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Part II

1- Evolving towards the objectives.

  1. Basic indicators on "Education for All"
  2. Analysis of Indicators

2-Setbacks

3- Awareness, Will & Capabilities

Indicator 1. Gross enrolment ratio in Early Childhood Development Programs for the year 1998

In 1998- 1999

Population (between the ages of 3 and 5)1406613

Children attending kindergarten (between the ages of 3 and 5)108319

  1. Enrolment in early Childhood Development Programs rose in the 1990s by about 30%. This increase averages 3% per year and almost parallels the population growth rate.
  2. The gender parity index has slightly grown from 89% to 91%. This implies a rising interest in educating females and suggests equality of the sexes.
  3. The percentage of students enrolled in Early Childhood Development Programs is almost equal to the percentage of first grade students who attended some form of Early Childhood Development Program.
  4. The declining enrolment in Early Childhood Development Programs is due to the fact that this level of education is not free, unlike primary education.

Indicator 2. Percentage of new entrants to G1 who have attended a form of organized Early Childhood Development Program during at least one year.

  1. Enrolment in Early Childhood Development Programs is neither compulsory nor free. Kindergarten private education is provided by private tuition charging institutions while kindergarten public education is provided by governmental institutions that charge only symbolic tuition and whose students are mainly employees’ children.
  2. Almost 45% of the students enrolled in Early Childhood Development Programs within private institutions pursue their primary education in public schools. This is indicated by the percentage of students enrolled in Early Childhood Development Programs, in comparison with the percentage of those who continued their primary education in private schools.
  3. The percentage of students enrolled in the first grades of primary school is remarkably stable when compared with the percentage of students who have attended Early Childhood Development Programs (7,3%).
  4. The percentage of students in private schools is relatively low compared with the percentage of students in public schools, for it doesn’t exceed 5%.

Indicators 3 and 4. Apparent (gross) and net intake rates in primary education.

-Comparison in 1998-1999

- Population age 6/ 464784

- New entrants to G1of all ages 46264 / 98,2%

- New entrants age 6/414669/ 89,2%

The 89,2% percentage does not imply that 10,8% were not enrolled in schools, given that among these are:

1.handicapped students enrolled in schools supported by the ministry of social affairs and labor (their percentage is over 1%).

2.students registered in foreign schools inside the Syrian Arab Republic.

3.students registered outside the Syrian Arab Republic who follow their families working abroad.

4.deaths.

The official count of the population is a census that refers to the year 1994, while the enumeration census of students enrolled in school goes to the year 1998.This comparison is thus applicable to previous years.

If the net rate doesn’t clearly reveal this truth, it is because the population count after the 1994 census is only an estimate.

Indicators 5 and 6- gross and net enrolment ratios in primary education.

  1. The net percentage of primary students in relation to the total population is increasing, as it reached 95% in 1994-1995.This percentage is an accurate one, since the month of September 1994 was the month during which a real population count was carried out. If other percentages reverting to the last years do not match, it is because the population count carried out during those years is only an estimate.
  2. The gender parity index reached 92% in 1990-1991 and jumped to 96% in 1998-1999.This sheds light on the successful efforts exerted to educate females and help them to equality with men.
  3. In 1998-1999

-Population between the ages of 6 and 11/2858185

-Registered students of official ages(between 6 and 11)/2690916/ 94%

-Registered students of all ages/2721203/ 95,2%

  1. many reasons lie behind this lack of students:

1.school outcrops.

2.students registered in foreign schools inside the Republic.

3.handiccaped students registered in the ministry of social affairs and labor.

4.deaths, given that the census enumeration goes back to the year 1994 while the number of primary students is an annual and recent one.

Indicators 7 and 8- Public expenditure on primary education as percentage of the Gross National Product and percentage of total public expenditure on education (all levels) and public current expenditure on primary education per pupil as percentage of Gross National Product per capita.

It is to be noted that:

Indicators 9 and 10- percentage of primary school teachers having the required academic qualifications and the percentage of primary school teachers who are certified to teach according to national standards.

- A slight decrease in the number of certified teachers has been noted between 1990 and 1991, as increasing numbers of qualified teachers were appointed.

Indicator 11- The pupil-teacher ratios.

  1. The pupil-teacher ratio is relatively high in private schools compared with public schools.
  2. A relative increase in the pupil-teacher ratio has been noted in public schools as it reached 22,6% in 1998.

Yet, it is worth mentioning that this percentage soars in cities and drops off in rural areas especially distant ones.

Indicator 12- Repetition rates by grade in primary education.

Comparison between 1997 and 1998:

  1. School failure among females has decreased as a result of the greater interest they take in the primary course.
  2. The stable failure rate in the 1990s is an outcome of the stable educational policy adopted to approach this phenomenon.
  3. The high failure rate in first grade results from the direct enrolment of some students in first grade before reaching the admission age.

Indicators 13 and 14-Survival rate and coefficient of efficiency

  1. Survival rate
  2. 1.The survival rate of males and females is constantly rising by about 0,5% (5per thousand) per year.

    2.The survival rate of males to Grade 5 is higher than that of females: 93,2% for males and 90% for females.

    3.100%-91,6% = 8,4% does not mean that those are only school dropouts, given that the percentage of deaths and emigration is also taken into account.

  3. Coefficient of efficiency

Observations:

1.The coefficient of efficiency among females is relatively compatible with that of males in the first five grades.

2.The coefficient of efficiency is increasing by 1% per year in primary education.

3.The coefficient of efficiency among females slightly exceeds by 8,8 per thousand that of males in sixth grade.

Indicator 15- percentage of pupils having reached at least Grade 4 of primary schooling who master a set of nationally defined basic learning competencies.

A random sample was taken in 1999 out of 1000 students coming from different environments and provinces.

Of the sample students=1000-(804 +21+41)

=1000-866=134

1.13,4% of the sample students can neither write nor read nor calculate.

2.The basic learning competencies reach a higher level in cities than in rural areas.

3.Mathematics: the assimilation ability of males is higher in this respect than that of females in cities and equal to it in rural areas.

4.Arabic language: the ability of females is superior in this field to that of males in cities as well as in rural areas.

5.In short, the competencies of females are superior to those of males in cities and rural areas.

Indicators 16 and 17 and 18- literacy rates of population aged 15 to 24 and 15 years old and over and literacy gender parity index.

2. Major setbacks to basic education:

Basic education for all suffers severe setbacks that keep it from achieving its goals. One impediment lies in the extension of compulsory education from 6 to 9 years, even though article 37 of the Syrian Constitution stipulates that the state endeavors to extend compulsory education beyond the primary level.

Yet, sundry factual difficulties cause a great setback to its implementation, such as the following:

  1. Extending compulsory education to 9 years shatters the governmental focus on the necessity of compulsory education during the first 6 years and consequently impairs the Programs designed to combat school dropout and follow up dropouts.
  2. Many young girls aged 12 to 15 years get married especially in rural areas, making it thus impossible for themselves to pursue education and therefore to extend compulsory education to 9 years.
  3. Some children between the ages of 12 and 15 work with their parents in the fields or start highly paid jobs. Consequently, obliging them to enroll in school becomes impossible, especially that they become literate after 6 years of primary schooling.

3- Public awareness, political will and national capabilities

The state commits itself through its executive institutions to implement the constitutional provisions related to education. This commitment prompted the state to allocate 12% of its general budget to education, half of which goes to primary education. As a result, the number of schools and teachers burgeoned and education was enhanced and supervised through modern curricula and methods, teacher training and preparation.

The practice of democracy in Syria through the popular organizations that interact with the citizens and the state constitutes the axis of strength and will and makes a fertile ground for launching the national abilities in order to promote and develop education for all.

Yet, traditions and habits -such as the early marriage of young girls, the natural conditions in desert areas and remote agricultural lands, the labor of children who help their families in cultivating the land and harvesting crops -cannot be rapidly overcome.

Such factors constitute major setbacks to the appropriate spreading of education and to the extension of the educational period. This fact remains true in spite of the facilities offered by the state (slipping school year- ambulant schools in desert areas), the widespread cultural centers which allow irregular education, the broad range of available media, the directed specialized Programs conducive to occasional education.

Many efforts have been exerted to develop the curricula in order to meet the increasing requirements. Additionally, teacher preparation Programs are being reviewed: new faculties of education have been inaugurated in the Syrian Arab Republic and an integral plan has been set to train teachers in all levels and prepare them properly.


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