The Regional Ministerial Meeting about Returning to School in the Arab States
In the context of the challenges, that many countries faced regarding the reopening of schools and the negative repercussions on the educational sector due to the Corona pandemic.
The Ministry of Education in the Syrian Arab Republic, represented by H.E. Dr. Darem Tabbaa, the Minister of Education, the Chairman of the Syrian National Commission for UNESCO; and representatives of the Ministry, participated in the virtual regional ministerial meeting held on October 14th, 2020; on returning to schools in the Arab countries with the aim of bringing together the ministers of education in the region, along with UN regional partners and other international partners, providing an important opportunity to share decisions, plans, and ideas so that everyone can meet the main challenges in front of the continuity of inclusive, equitable and high-quality education, in line with the objectives of the Sustainable Development 4th Goals.
During the presentation of the Syrian experience in this field, H.E. the Minister stated that the children, sons and students, are the true wealth of the nation and the builders of its future, and we have all worked to ensure the right to education for them, provide the requirements of the educational process and the requirements for its implementation. Also, we continued to develop the distant-learning system: The electronic content, technical tools and varied job opportunities available to everyone. We took care to preserve the health of learners and protect them from diseases by providing a safe and appropriate healthy environment, applying the health protocol to prevent Covid-19 in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, daily supervision and follow-up, activating supervision and community partnership and compensating educational losses during the suspension period through direct lessons via the educational satellite channel, online platform and virtual platforms for blended education.
In addition to that, he pointed out to the passing process of all transitional classes students to the upper grade, as well as, final examinations for certificate classes were successfully carried out under strict preventive measures in cooperation with government and private agencies, with the continuation of compensating educational losses at the beginning of the school year, and setting up a health protocol for returning to school in cooperation with the Ministry of Health and international organizations, and preparing three scenarios for the study plan and school attendance.
The academic year 2020-2021 also started on September 13th, 2020; and the number of children enrolled in school reached nearly 4 million, and the enrollment percentage reached 90% in most regions. A campaign to educate one million children was launched to bring back dropout children and teach them according to category –B- curricula, and train experienced teachers in teaching these curricula, and starting to provide distant-education opportunities through educational satellite-channel's educational programs, online platforms and virtual platforms, and signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Communications to secure the internet for schools.
The meeting included an introductory speech to the round-tables meetings delivered by Dr. Hamad bin Saif Al-Hammami, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab Countries in Beirut, and four meetings, in which the experiences of Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, Emirates, and Yemen were presented.