Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Saturday, April 20, 2024

What Syrian children need for a fulfilled life

With each day passing, a Syrian child’s future grows dimmer. Before 2010, public schools in Syria were, at best, deemed unworthy by many. Since then, however, government spending on the education sector has plummeted, 2021 saw more than an 80% decrease compared to 2010.

Credit: World Vision

During the pandemic, children who stayed home never received compensation for the education they missed. In 2022, due to fuel scarcity, children were forced to stay home for at least one day a week, again no educational compensation was provided. Earlier this year the Turkey-Syria earthquake left many students unable to attend school, and again no educational compensation. And in recent years drugs, like Captagon, have been spreading in schools and among students, undermining the educational environment.

most Syrian parents are under acute financial strain. These parents have been failing to raise their children in better environments and nourish them adequately

In 2022, 90% of Syrian people lived below the poverty baseline. Consequently, most Syrian parents are under acute financial strain. These parents have been failing to raise their children in better environments and nourish them adequately. According to anecdotal evidence and humanitarian reports, school drop among children is rising and the education of a child is not being prioritized. This year UNICEF estimated that around 3.75 million children are suffering from severe malnutrition 5. What future could be awaiting these children?

A kid being born into a socioeconomically disadvantaged family is the equivalent of being born into an environment that lacks parental care and engagement (e.g., poor nutrition and attention to the child) and cognitively stimulating activity (e.g., learning a musical instrument).  Babies (less than one year old) born into poor environments are more likely to have lower brain maturation compared with children born in better socioeconomic status.

A 2015 study published in Nature Neuroscience journal revealed that the brain development (measured in terms of surface and cortical thickness of the brain) of a child born to a socioeconomically disadvantaged family is inferior compared with the brain development of a child born to a family with higher incomes. These brain regions are associated with language, reading, and other executive functions.

The future of children in Syria depends on what actions we take to combat the poor education they are receiving and the deteriorating socioeconomic status Syrian parents are facing

By inferring, it becomes evident that the brain maturation and development of around 90% of the children in Syria (probably more than 3.75 million children) face significant impediments. These children are deprived of proper childhood and darkness has been cast on their future. In the recent history of Syria, it’s safe to say that Syrian kid today is the most disadvantaged compared with previous generations.

When the time comes for Syrians settling abroad to return and reintegrate into society in Syria, socioeconomic inequality perhaps will be at its peak. The children of privileged families (those who have been receiving proper education and care outside Syria) will be more likely to surpass the children raised in Syria in every measure (creativity, adaptation to new technology, leadership, entrepreneurship, etc.). The educational and socioeconomic gaps between these generations will not go unnoticed. The future of children in Syria depends on what actions we take to combat the poor education they are receiving and the deteriorating socioeconomic status Syrian parents are facing.

Adel ALRAI
Adel ALRAI
Ph.D. candidate at Istanbul Technical University studying nanomaterials for aerospace applications and author of peer-reviewed scientific articles

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