Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Student Power Overturns Controversial Decree

Grassroots campaign means that children will not have to travel long distances to sit final tests.
By Shafan Ibrahim
  • Students protesting against the decree. (Photo: Shafan Ibrahim)
    Students protesting against the decree. (Photo: Shafan Ibrahim)
  • Teachers and parents were also present at the protest. (Photo: Shafan Ibrahim)
    Teachers and parents were also present at the protest. (Photo: Shafan Ibrahim)

Popular protests run by students in Hassakah have managed to overturn a decision by the local department of education to shift exam centres far from local schools.

Officials had announced that exam centres for secondary school students would be relocated to Hassakah’s city centre, which meant that many pupils would have to travel more than 180 kilometers each day to sit their final tests.

The department said it had introduced the measure due to security concerns, as it was unable to supervise exams in areas controlled by different military factions.

However, their announcement was met with a wave of public protests and student sit-ins.

“We decided to hold a sit-in on May 23, 2016, and launched a Facebook campaign rallying local support,” said Khalil, creator of the page entitled No to Moving Exams to Hassakah that garnered 2,500 likes in a matter of days.

“The support we received was incredible, so we decided to postpone the demos for a day to allow more students and parents to participate,” he continued.

“On the day of the sit-ins, many of us raised banners with slogans that had originally been posted on our campaign page by our supporters.”

According to official data, 11,000 male and female secondary school students in Hassakah and Qamishli would have been affected by the decree.

Damascus Bureau’s Shafan Ibrahim attended the sit-in and took the above photographs.

This story was produced by Syria Stories (previously Damascus Bureau), IWPR’s news platform for Syrian journalists. 

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