School Curricula In Syria: Hidden Victim of The Conflict or Weapon of War?

Author: Juline Beaujouan and Nisreen Al Sakbani

Evidence shows that school curricula in regime-held and opposition-held areas are highly politicised and contribute to social fragmentation rather than social cohesion.

Among the many sectors destroyed by the thirteen-year Syrian conflict, education has suffered enormous losses and garnered the attention of funders, development agencies and academics alike. Marked by decades of authoritarian ruled, Syrian education – school buildings, staff and students – was caught in conflict and instrumentalised by warring actors. At the same time, education was used as a vehicle for resistance and resilience by activists and academics, and a tool for social change. In other words, Syrian education has many faces.

This research offers a unique comparative study on primary and secondary school curricula in opposition-held and regime-held Syrian schools since the beginning of the conflict in 2011. This policy brief highlights some of the key findings of this study, with the aim of informing policymakers, funders, and peacebuilders on opportunities to use education as a tool for peace in Syria.