Seventeen percent of Syrians will be holders of Bachelor of Arts (BA) by 2025,while basic and high school students numbers will reach 7.7 million, a national report forecasted.
Syria’s population, reached 20.6 million people in 2010, will increase to 42.2 million in 2050 due to the population growth rate which stands at 2.38 percent, according to national statistics reports.
The basic school students of the country will continue increasing from 4.66 million in 2009 to reach 5.95 million in 2025, meaning that all Syrians of the basic school age will be at schools in case Syria fulfilled its commitment to the Millennium Development Goals which it ratified in 2000, the country’s report on population status of 2010 has said.
Public education system (Basic, high and university) of Syria is free while basic education is mandatory till age of twelve, but in some parts of the country not all school age students are committed to this national obligation and join schools due to social and other requirements.
By adopting and transferring population development from a problem to an opportunity the average number of elementary school students in each classroom should not exceed 22 students which requires 270 thousand classrooms and 331 thousand teachers by 2025, the report indicated.
As far as the high school education is concerned, the report made it clear that the expected number of high school students will reach 1.7 million by 2025 which requires some 46171 classrooms for high school general education (GE) and 23941 for vocational education (VE) as well as the total need of teachers will be 61562 for GE and 129269 for VE. Meanwhile university education will need 33299 college teaching staff will be needed.
Private education system (paid system) spread widely all over the country during the last decade with inaugurating a number of basic and high schools as well as universities including technical and vocational training centers due to the requirements of the work markets and labor force.
Syria’s ministry of education employed more than five thousand graduates as basic and high-school teachers in 2011 for a five-year renewable contract, an urgent step towards addressing public schools’ increased need of educational cadres (education reform step) in addition to every-other year competitions for employing permanent trained, qualified and educational oriented graduates.
Some 6.66 % of the unemployed Syrians are graduates while 6.18 % of them are illiterate (16.8 % of the population above 15 years old are illiterate), the national report said based on data of the country’s unemployment surveys.
Hence, will the country’s next three five-year plans (the remaining eleventh 2011-2015, the twelfth 2016-2020 and the thirteenth 2021-2025) be able to address the country’s educational system needs? keeping in mind that, the economic growth over the past decade was weak, and studies indicate that the unemployment rate was stable and has not fallen below 8 % at best and the country’s poverty rate which has increased from 11,4 % in 2004 to 12,3 % in 2007, still 22 % of the population are subject to drop below the poverty line in case there is a problem or shock that negatively affects the economic performance as the report warned?