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Where now for Education in Syria?

Nour Al-Kurdy is an English as a second language teacher, English/Arabic translator, and content writer from Syria.

We are fortunate that the educational system has been improved through the years in Syria. Although there are weaknesses which remain, the country has seen some positive developments which solved some problems. Nonetheless, we have to invent more creative ideas to train more professional teachers since it is a matter of fact that the slow speed of this progress has affected each and every age class from preschool children to university students. This is something that must change.

It is common knowledge that there are plenty of flaws in the Syrian educational system. However, the question here is how to improve it to create more professional teachers?

I believe that training should form a vital part of our educational philosophy, and the key to better teachers is the availability of training courses for teachers and lecturers. Before you teach in a school or any educational foundation it should be necessary to attend a course for teaching – after all, you as a teacher have to be qualified to do your job by being trained. However, let’s not forget the other issues, which I list below along with some solutions for them.

First, it has been proven that technology can be a great aid in the process of teaching. However, our inability to make the most of these opportunities means that teachers suffer when it comes to teaching students complicated information. As well as the lack of access to technology itself, even where it is available, many teachers don’t know the correct way to use technical aids during the teaching process. How to use them? I will explain here.

If you have a computer in your classroom first, you need to actually turn it on. Then, you have to adapt your lessons to make the most of its affordances. These can be particularly useful in enlivening the presentation stage, for example by displaying a video that is related to your lesson. Having the computer up and running also ensures you do not make excuses to avoid listening exercises – something many teachers can be guilty of.

Audio aids can be particularly useful in the process of learning a second language, as it can help students in communication more generally as well as making them develop their listening skills. Second, teaching can be improved by also using visual aids, such as realia, which can be considered beneficial for the teaching process and even classroom management. It can be hard for a teacher to manage his/her classroom without having some aids to stimulate the students during the lesson. It appears to me that visual aids can focus all the attention to the information given by the teacher.

On the other hand, other technological aids also have advantages that contribute to the advancement of education in Syria. Moreover, this progression has had a great impact on students from different aged classes. To illustrate one example, the usage of artificial intelligence (AI) has the ability to impact the whole course of education from preschool level to college level. For kindergarten children in particular, providing and employing several kinds of educational aids simultaneously helps to enrich them with knowledge and languages. Additionally, for teaching in colleges a professor or a lecturer may find that, nowadays, students need to learn and think practically more than just theoretically. To do that you as a teacher must create plenty of ideas for bringing knowledge out of the abstract and into the concrete. This was a great help for teachers in recent years.

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.”

These were the words of John Dewey and so, as a last point, it is a fact that the power of human development has to be harnessed efficiently. That is exactly what Singapore did. In comparison with the education in Syria, Singapore managed to harness human powers by improving its education system. Once a poor backwater, Singapore’s school system is now among the world’s best. It is also probably the only country that had systematic plans and strategies for external shocks. To quote one professor, “Like Singapore, we should work towards finding an alternative way to respond to future situations, in which education practices have to re-adapt.” As far as we observe, Singapore hasn’t failed to progress even in disasters, and we can see how much its students are educated. In recent years Singapore has implemented a raft of reforms aimed at easing the burden on students while still maintaining a high level of academic success. I think the one important lesson here in Syria would be to see how we can make the system more flexible and resilient.

The ticket here for this question is to trust in our educators, invest in our teachers, and be flexible by allowing schools to make certain decisions that will better fit their systems.

In conclusion, although we need to fill the gaps in the Syrian educational system, we can’t forget that the country has grown in many different aspects concerning the educational development. In my opinion, we can boost the student’s intelligence and raise their awareness by continuing to move forward and producing more useful ideas.

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