September 11, 2015

Institute of Agricultural Technology opened in Syria

The 16th of August heralded the opening of the Institute of Agricultural Technology (IAT) in Syria’s Aleppo Governorate. The vocational higher educational institute opened its doors to over 50 students from the surrounding region. SPARK is proud of the results of this joint initiative with the Ministry of Agriculture of the Syrian Interim Government (SIG).

The institute aims to provide a 10 week vocational course on plant production and protection to up to 150 students by the end of 2015. This initiative comes in response to rising food insecurity in the Aleppo Governorate, one of the greatest challenges facing the population of northern Syria. By educating students about plant production and protection, the institute aims to combat the loss of valuable knowledge of food production which has come about as much of the experienced workforce has been lost due to forced displacement. The IAT aims to rehabilitate the agricultural sector by transferring the necessary skills to Syrian youth. By developing this institute inside Syria, SPARK also aims to build capacity within the Syrian Interim Government and local actors involved in higher education in Syria.

Currently there are 53 students learning about different aspects of plant production and protection in Syria.  Over the next two months they will study the cultivation and harvesting of cereals and potatoes, learn about pest management, and be trained in irrigation and water conservation. Additionally, IAT students will receive English language lessons tailored towards helping students communicate about technical agricultural subjects.

In addition to the IAT in Aleppo, SPARK is continuing to work with the SIG Ministry of Agriculture to develop similar vocational training institutes in the governorates of Idleb, Homs and Daraa, aimed at contributing to the rehabilitation of specific agricultural sectors in Syria.

The opening of the IAT was attended by a news crew from local broadcaster Orient News, who generously provided the inset footage showing the Dean of the institute and IAT teachers introducing themselves and the aims of the college to prospective students and providing details about the available courses.

Institute of Agricultural Technology in Syria

A further exciting development from the Gaziantep office is the imminent opening of the First Response Nursery Institute. In a further partnership between SPARK and the Syrian Interim Government, the Ministry of Health has just signed an agreement to begin developing vocational higher education institutes on health and medical education. The medical institute plans to open its doors to students by the end of the summer 2015.

Due to continuing conflict in Syria, the entire health care system has been severely disrupted. These problems permeate to every level of the healthcare system, from water and sanitation networks to waste management systems and electricity supplies. And yet due to the severity of the continuing crisis, a growing need has arisen for functional health facilities and professional health workers.

By developing a higher education institute SPARK, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, aims to rehabilitate medical education in Syria enabling Syrians to respond to the evolving needs of the emergency situation. It is intended that as these institutes mature, Syrians will be encouraged to learn about the process of setting up and managing such educational institutes and programmes further strengthening entrepreneurship and capacity building in the region.

This institution has been opened under SPARK’s SYRIN programme, which sets up higher vocational institutes for Syrian Civil Responders in Crisis Response & Early Recovery. The SYRIN programme aims to provide young Syrian refugees with opportunities to access higher vocational education and to build the capacity of local Syrian institutions.

Please note: In August 2018 SPARK had no other option than to suspend the activities implemented by its partner organisations as the Syrian government took control in parts of the (until) then by SIG controller areas. Since August 2018 no activities have been implemented by our partner organisations in Syria/SIG controlled areas. SPARK has only been able to continue to support Syrian refugees in Turkey, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.

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