Syrian children continue education at makeshift school in mountains

Tuesday 21 January 2014 11.51
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The school teaches basic subjects such as Maths and Arabic
The school teaches basic subjects such as Maths and Arabic
There are not enough teaching materials or notebooks available for the children
There are not enough teaching materials or notebooks available for the children

A group of Syrian volunteers have established a makeshift school on the Zawya mountain to give children an education in spite of the heavy fighting and continued conflict in the area.

The Zawya mountain of Idlib province is fought over by rebels and regime forces.

Constant shelling by regime forces has led to the destruction of many homes and hospitals.

It has also destroyed many school buildings or made them unusable, depriving young Syrians of basic education.

Usama, a teacher at the makeshift school, said operations had been moved to the mountains where they believed children would be safer.

He said: "We established this humble school in our freed regions, after the brutal regime bombed our villages and homes, even our schools were not safe.

"So we established this school in a provincial area in order to protect our young children from the threat of illiteracy and ignorance."

The school teaches basic subjects including Maths, Science, Arabic, and Religion.

Young children who crowd the classes appear eager to take part in lessons, although there are not enough teaching materials or notebooks available for them.

A girl called Hiba said it had been a long time since she was able to attend classes.

She said: "Bashar [al-Assad] destroyed our schools, and so we couldn't learn anymore, it's been a very long time since we've learned anything. They told us there is a school here, so we came in order to learn."

Education in Syria has suffered significantly, with children caught up in the three-year civil war over the leadership of President Bashar al-Assad.

According to the Save The Children aid agency, school buildings have been shelled in Syria, teachers attacked, and children recruited into armed groups.

Ayman, another teacher at the school, said a chronic lack of supplies endangered the education of very young children.

He said it was difficult to teach children who have been out of school for a long time.

"We're facing a lot of difficulties with teaching the students, because they have been out of school for a long time, some of them for a year, maybe even two or three years," he said.

Syria's civil war has killed more than 100,000 people and forced some 2.3m to flee abroad, according to the United Nations. Another 4m have been displaced inside Syria.