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Friday 10th December at 2:30pm GMT (English) hosted by Dr Fateh Shaban

Rebuilding higher education in northern Syria. (English)

The Syrian civil war that began with the revolution in 2011 has led to a vacuum in higher education in northern Syria. Some universities have continued to provide tertiary education, whilst others have emerged since. Those in the non-regime North of Syria (NS) are facing significant challenges due to the war and the conditions it has generated. The universities have numerous needs such as the reconstruction and development of infrastructure and support for their academics and students. This qualitative study combined document analysis, interviews and focus group discussions with 24 academics and 14 students in three universities in northern Syria. The research findings confirmed that higher education in northern Syria suffers from a wide range of problems, most notably insecurity and interference from armed factions, limited infrastructure, financial uncertainties, availability recruitment and retention of qualified staff, and a traumatised student body, amongst other problems associated with war conditions. It also demonstrated an urgent need for unification of the sector in NS, and international recognition and support, with accreditation a longer-term goal. This research emphasises the importance of such studies to develop a better understanding of the circumstances and experiences of HEIs in NS and strategies to respond to at least some of the most urgent challenges faced.