A Syrian girl in Afrin district attends classes on March 26, 2018. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish official from Kurdish National Coalition told Rudaw on Thursday they are negotiating with Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to include Kurdish language to schools curriculum at classes which include at least 10 kurdish students.
Fawaz Mahmoud Abuzeid of KNC or ENKS, who used to be deputy minister of education for the Syrian Interim Government, also told Rudaw that he believes it is "a mistake" to teach Kurdish at all levels of study, suggesting that Kurdish should only be taught at first three years of study because students have been studying in Arabic in the past and have no basis for the Kurdish language.
Around 50,000 students are deprived of an education because of the situation in Afrin.
According to Afrin canton's education committee, there were 318 schools and 16 institutions, but 33 schools are completely destroyed now.
The former administration of Afrin had prepared 1,200 teachers — 80 percent women — for their new curriculum. Kurdish was the principal language of study but students were also taught in Arabic and English.
With the fall for the canton to Turkish forces and its Syrian proxies, Kurds have had to seek education in other areas in Syria held by the so-called Free Syrian Army such as Azaz and Jarabulus.
Abuzeid was concerned about the situation in Afrin and hoped that students will resume their studies soon because "there will be no education in absence of stability."
He said that he was contacted by interim government's minister of education to consult him regarding education situation in Afrin and also to discuss the possibility of Kurdish education at schools.
Regarding the content of the curriculum taught by the interim government, Abuzeid said the curriculum is the same curriculum studied in areas under the control of Syrian regime except history where the interim government had removed parts "praising the Baath regime, and officials such as Bashar [al-Assad] and others."
He added they also have removed all "chauvinist" parts.
One issue with the education provided by different governments in Syria is the recognition of the certificates issued by schools.
The education expert said that some countries have recognized the curriculum prepared by the Syrian Interim Government while some others have not, but Turkey seems to have found a way to get out of this issue.
Syrian school children are seen at their classroom al-Caviz village on March 26, 2018. Photo: AA
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Abuzeid says because Turkey certifies the education, they are internationally recognized.
Following Afrin operation, ENKS suspended its participation in the Syrian National Coalition meetings but Abuzeid said now the situation is different because of the status of education.
ENKS and SNC are working to establish a joint educational committee to evaluate the issue of Kurdish education and make a decision.
Some photos were shared by Turkish state media, showing Kurdish students in Afrin raising Turkish flag and the portraits of Turkish politicians, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hanging on the buildings of schools.
Kurds from the Democratic Union Party (PYD) have complained that the Turkish operation is effectively a way to remove Kurdish and other groups from Afrin. Turkey denies targeting historic Macedonian structures, relics, and churches.