Four years after liberation of Al-Raqqah from ISIS, education service have been still suffering substantial deterioration manifested in the destruction of many educational institutions.
Before 2011, there were 512 schools in Al-Raqqah city and countryside. This number declined gradually, after the control of military factions of Al-Raqqah in 2013, and later by ISIS whose members were stationed in many schools and turned some others into prisons. During the factions and ISIS control of the region, some schools have been destroyed completely and some others were subjected to partial damage due to military operations. According statistics of the education commission of Al-Raqqah Civil Council, 397 schools are in service, which means that nearly 115 schools have been destroyed completely and were put out of service due to military operations, as well as turning some into military headquarters of Syria Democratic Forces.
It is worth noting that the civil council and international organisations have partially rehabilitated 201 schools while 91 schools have been completely rehabilitated.
The schools in service in Al-Raqqah city and countryside are distributed as follows: 307 primary schools, 35 preparatory schools, three high schools and 52 schools of various stages, all operate on a double-shift basis.
According to SOHR activists in Al-Raqqah, the number of students, announced by the education commission of Al-Raqqah Civil Council has reached 118,000 in the current school year, 2021-2022.
It is worth noting that the education commission had adopted an old curriculum provided by UNICEF, but this ignited public anger which forced the commission to grant 51 educational institutions for preparatory and high schools students permits to teach the curriculum of the regime’s Ministry of Education. However, these students do their exams in regime-controlled areas in Al-Raqqah countryside.
On the other hand, hundreds of students have dropped out of school and made a career of hard crafts, in the industrial area, which do not suit their ages, such as carpentry, smithery, selling products at stalls and collecting of metal and plastic objects in streets and deserted houses, at a time when there is a branch of the “Child Protection” office in the civil council and Autonomous Administration’s headquarters, as well as the presence of 128 humanitarian and relief organisations operating in that region.
In early March 2013, opposition factions and Jabhat al-Nusra captured Al-Raqqa city that became the first capital of a Syrian province to go outside the control of regime forces at that time. Then violent battles erupted in the beginning of January 2014 between the opposition factions and Jabhat al-Nusra on one hand, and ISIS on the other, before ISIS imposed its control on the entire city in the middle of January 2014. Finally, SDF managed to capture the city in October 2017, with International Coalition Forces’ support.