The situation of university students in rural Aleppo and Idlib province, who had before suffered under the rule of Assad regime during which they were deprived of university, continue to get worse under the rule of the HTS who is trying to exploit and profit from the Higher Education Council, which had been administered by the Syrian Interim Government before.
The failed administration of the so-called Aleppo University and Idlib Al Hurah has recently resorted to manipulating education for its own advantages. The educational council has issued a new decision that has privatized all faculties in western Aleppo and Idlib, bearing in mind that they used to impose tariffs reaching 150 dollars per year. Not only the decision did include the manipulation and exploitation of the money of the student, but it also included trading people lives as it implicated the collection of those faculties in only two areas: western Aleppo and Idlib, meaning that they are vulnerable to Russian and Assad airstrikes, in addition to the difficulties of transportation to those areas which also worsen the economic conditions of the students.
Protests and statements against the privatization of the faculties decision.
After the issuing of the decision of the privatization of those faculties, the students reacted with several protests against it which were held in some university parks. They consider the transformation of public universities into private investment projects by some political and military parties as a step that will only benefit the latter and waste their time and destroy their educational future.
On 16 November 2017, the students held some protests against the decision of the council in some faculties located in western Aleppo, including the town of Al Dana in rural Idlib. Most of the faculties also issued statements rejecting the decision and their links with the high educational council which is the main responsible for the intolerable decisions that are only worsening education.
The high educational council is caught between the Syrian Self Interim Government and then the so-called HTS government. The latter has begun the domination over most universities in rural Idlib and western Aleppo by a series of harassment against some heads, professors, and students in those universities. In a statement released by those students, they condemned the continuity of repetitious harassment against the heads and other violations that will only destroy the future of an entire generation. They also demanded from the council to stay away from the university.
The privatization of faculties decision in rural Aleppo has also been refused by some university teachers, one of whom confirmed to Aleppo24 that the decision is rejected by the educational committee, but the fate of the universities remain related to whether the educational council will cut off its support and funds to the universities which refuse to adhere to its decision.
The race to the domination of universities destroy the hopes of their students:
The violation against education in universities is not only limited to the decisions of the highest council, but also to the HTS that confiscated the properties of the university in rural Aleppo on 23 October 2017. It was not strange to see the HTS imposing its dominance over the universities in Idlib and western Aleppo, as it is known that the president of its government was previously the head of that university. He is named ‘Mohamed Al Sheikh’.
Since the establishment of the so-called ‘Al Hura University’ in 2015, which includes around 30 faculties and institutes and is receiving around 7000 students, it has been known that the decisions and testimonies that it would release will be nothing but ink on paper. It has not provided any benefits to its students, most of whom were unaware of the deception that was not released by it or the educational council which had been linked with the Self Interim Government before being dominated by the HTS.
Some students were pushed to accept the bitter situation as they were unable to pursue their study in Assad-held areas for being either blacklisted or wanted by the regime. Furthermore, the Hura University was demanding from the students to provide original documents that must be given to them by their previous universities, which has deprived many of registration. Those who managed to register themselves, they only did it after bribing some people.
Samraa, a student who faced a bitter experience with the new decision, told Aleppo24 that, ‘ I was a student in the faculty of law in Aleppo University and after I reached my fourth year the revolution began. The situation in Aleppo during the early days of the revolution was, somehow, stable and I continued my study, though my family was against my decision for they were afraid about my safety. After the military operations started, the situation changed from bad to worse whether we are talking about the roads to the university or the latter itself. After a while, the university became like a military headquarter for there were many security patrols and armed men in and around it, in addition to the arrest of students. After some security police were attacked in the campus by night in 2017, I left Aleppo and the university without return. After two years, I was allowed to study in Idlib university and I succeeded in completing the classes of the fourth year. After that, the city of Idlib was liberated in 2015 during which the socalled ‘Al Hura University’ was established. I never thought of registering at it, though it was the only left option for the students. This is because of many reasons that include its Islamization and the imposition of unbearable taxes on the students which no one knew where they were going to. They added more than 20 Islamic classes in the faculty of law which was unbeneficial as they will only weaken the will of the students to pursue their study.’
Marwan who was a student in the faculty of science was forced to despair because Assad security branches were looking to arrest him in Aleppo University. After he found the opportunity to continue his student at the Hura University, he immediately realized that its diplomats are unacceptable by no side. And after he told the head of the ministry this fact, he was told, ‘do you have any other option?’ you are wanted by the Assad intelligence and you cannot study in Assad-operated universities’ ‘ you should remain, patients, as your diplomat, might be recognized by some sides.’
Marwan who accepted the unrecognized diplomat is now unable to obtain it in light of the privatization of universities. He told Aleppo24 that’ We are a generation whose ambition was destroyed by the Assad regime and now the HTS government is destroying our dreams by its dominance over the faculties.’
A revolution that needs another revolution:
The students in Syria are facing a very tough situation since the Assad regime has destroyed their dreams and has killed thousands of them and arrested a countless number of others. Their sufferings have now increased under the rule of extremists groups that care about nothing but their own interests. In light of this, the Syrians have only two options in hands: the impossible immigration or another revolution against all extremist and totalitarian forces beginning from Assad to the smallest faction that sees Syria as nothing but a land where it can invest and rank in money and that its people are nothing but slaves that must be intimidated.