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Education in Syria Webcast

March 29


This webcast on the situation of education in Syria, especially in Dara’a, Idlib, and Aleppo features  a review of the literature carried out by RTI for USAID in late 2016. The content and discussion focus on three important issues:

  • The key inputs that make an education system function.
  • The education delivery systems inside Syria (how they differ in Syrian-government-controlled areas, Syrian-Interim-Government-(SIG)-controlled areas, and other areas under the control of ISIS or unknown actors).
  • The international community’s response to the crisis.


Learn more about the literature findings by accessing the research brief here.


Nina Etyemezian is the Director of Program Development and Strategy for RTI’s International Education Division, where she has been since 2014. She is native to the Levant, has worked on education, gender, and youth throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, including as the Education and Gender Advisor for USAID/Morocco. Nina has an EdM in International Education from Harvard University Graduate School of Education.

Chris Capacci Carneal is an Education Development Officer in USAID’s Middle East Bureau. She has been with USAID since 2004. Prior to USAID, Chris worked with Catholic Relief Services and Save the Children in their Sahel Field Office.  She has a PhD in International Development Education from Florida State University.


Jim Rogan is Senior Advisor to USAID’s Education in Conflict and Crisis Network (ECCN), and is Principal and Owner of Exterion LLC, an international development consulting firm. He is a peacebuilding and governance specialist, and has worked on education in conflict and crisis for nearly 10 years. He has held senior management positions with the UN and the private sector. His last role was as Chief of Peacebuilding and Recovery for UNICEF in New York. He holds a BSFS from Georgetown University and an MA in International Political Economy from the University of Chicago.

Syria Webcast Questions and Answers

Josh Josa: Do you have a sense of how social inclusion factors (disability and gender) are being integrated into the proposed education frameworks?
Kyle Freedman: As part of this review and your current understanding of the education system in Syria, was there analysis of non-formal learning centers and institutions that have resulted from the crisis and if so, what do these look like?
Moderator: Did anything come through that surprised you, or what were the main things in any of these territorial areas that were helping these schools ‘get by’? You mentioned NGO support and international activities, but what were the areas of assets that help these schools weather the amount of risk that is thrust on them.
Moslem Shah: If possible, could you please provide further details about how volunteers organize themselves in providing classes? Is it done individually in each community or does a bigger body organize the services in a non-formal setting?
Yolande Miller Grandvaux: To what extent does the funding for education come from controversial/religious/radicalized sources?
Zillur Siddiki: Are there any initiatives on unified accelerated curriculum for the system?
Zeina: How valid do you believe the pre-conflict statistics from the government of Syria are? We have seen very high percentages of children without basic literacy and numeracy skills which do not follow a 90% enrollment rate pattern.
Michele Bradford: You've talked about lack of data. What is your read on the quality of the data? What does the EMIS cover? How timely and accurate are the data?
Uraidah: Is there an understanding at least among NGOs that their programs must include a psycho-social support component?
Moderator: You’ve commissioned the report with very interesting findings. Can USAID speak to how this will inform work and broaden understanding moving forward?
Zeina: Was there any special attention given to the Kurdish-controlled areas? Were they still considered as part of SIG? While we know they are not, they operate independently and run their own curricula and educational systems.
Zeina: Also, you mentioned not sharing the report because it has sensitive interviews. Are/were there any attempts to still share the findings with the local relevant stakeholders (local councils, local NGOs, etc.) to feed into their processes of building and developing their programming?
Michele Bradford: Were you able to undertake any reviews or spot checks of the curricula in use?
Yolande Miller Grandvaux: To what extent are donors coordinated? In terms of educational approaches, content, geographic, etc.?

Unanswered questions:

Question (from Hank Healey): What is happening in Syrian education now is a miracle; the key is to figure out how those miracles happened (to identify the driving forces behind them) and strive to keep those forces in place as well as replicate them elsewhere.