January 15, 2014

SPARK & Syrian Academics Together Against Collapsing Syrian Educational System

European Network and Internal Capacity Building Programme

A delegation of representatives from the Syrian National Commission for Education and the Union of Free Syrian Academics to the Netherlands, Belgium and France, which include Syrian academics, Mr Fawaz Alawad (National Commission for Education) and Mr Moheddin Bananeh (Director, Union of Free Syrian Academics) attended a study visit at SPARK during the week of 13-17th January.

The first of its kind, the event brought needed attention to the disrupted educational system in Syria, of which in some cases has been completely halted due to conflict. Little, to no access, to higher education leaves approximately 150 00 youth at high risk to being targeted by radical groups, hoping to recruit young impressionable minds.

To ensure long-term stability, security and democratic development in Syria it is key that the world invest in the educated youth, as they will then be more empowered to contribute to their societies. SPARK is proud to create a platform where the Delegation of Syrian Academics can meet and shake hands with Pieter Duisenberg, Dutch Parliament Spokesmen on Higher Education and Raniero Leto, Head of Operations in the Syria Delegation to EU.


The overall goals of the study visit were as follows:

1. To assist the National Commission for Education and Union of Free Syrian Academics to build a high quality network of relevant authorities and education institutions in Europe

* Review the Meeting Agenda below


2. To investigate options and instruments to tackle the following issues:

  • Certification, validation and recognition of learning attainments;
  • Internationalization of Syrian education;
  • Quality Assurance; 

3. Establishment of Higher Vocational Institutes/University Branch in Syria.

4. To explore study opportunities for refugee students.





13 January 2014, Amsterdam

Association for International Education: Executive Director: Leonard Engel

University of Amsterdam: Project manager accreditations, Maurice Oudejans

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Taleb Ibrahim


14 Janurary 2014, The Hague

Dutch National Student Union: Jorien Janssen

International Student Union: Loek Zanders

Platform Science and Technology on quality-systems in Higher Education

Presentation on lobbying and advocacy in the Netherlands; how to lobby for improvements in Higher Education: Meus van der Poel Dutch Parliament

MP Spokesman on Higher Education: Pieter Duisenberg

Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Bernard Meirman, Sara Offermans

Nuffic: Diploma recognition on the valuation of the Syrian education system and opportunities for refugee students: José Chadid

Nuffic: instruments for internationalisation of higher education: Rosa Becker


15 January 2014, Brussels

EQAR: Colin Tueck

European University Association, Michael Gaebel

European Student Union, Elisabeth Gehrke

European Commission: EAC Executive Agency (Tempus, Erasmus, Erasmus+ Programmes)

Syria Delegation: Head of Operations, Raniero Leto


16 January 2014, Paris

Dutch delegation to UNESCO, Leifke Reitsma


17 January 2014, Strasbourg

Council of Europe: Head of the Education department: Sjur Bergan