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Syria - Secondary Education

Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.comGlobal Education ReferenceSyria - History Background, Constitutional Legal Foundations, Educational System—overview, Preprimary Primary Education, Secondary Education


Even though many students, especially in remote rural areas, do not take advantage of the secondary education programs, the public's demand for these programs has remained constant over the years. Many Syrians view completing secondary and postsecondary educational programs as a way to advance in society. Secondary education is an intermediate stage between the compulsory primary program for 6- to 12-year-olds and specific types of higher education and training.

In 1999, there were 3,440 secondary schools. Like the primary program, there is a rigid format: each student is expected to complete the required curriculum in one year of instruction. The first three years of secondary education provide intermediate courses; students enter the program at age 12 and complete it at age 15. Students identified as being gifted attend schools especially designed to address their needs. These schools are equipped with electronic libraries and learning laboratories. Teachers are trained to incorporate more hands-on activities and activities that promote creative thinking and problem-solving strategies. Those completing the intermediate program sit for the Al Kafa'a (Intermediate Level Diploma).

This stage is followed by another three years of general education for 15- to 18-year-old students. Students who are accepted into this program may either enter the general stream or technical track; entry is based upon the Al Kafa'a examination. Those entering the general stream receive one year of general introductory courses and then enter either the literary or scientific track. Students competing the general secondary program sit for the Al-Shahâda Al-Thânawiyya-Al'Amma (Baccalaureate Secondary School Leaving Certificate). The literary track examination has a minimum pass score of 102 out of a possible 240, and the scientific track has a minimum passing score of 104 out of 260. Based upon the examination results and the availability of openings, students may continue at the university level for six additional years or they may attend a two-year intermediate institute program.

In 1995, some 70 percent of those completing intermediate schooling entered the technical track. Students who enter the technical track are placed in either the industrial or commercial track. At the end of the three-year program, these students sit for the Al-Shahâda Al-Thânawiyya Al-Fanniyya (Technical Baccalaureate). The results of this examination determine entry into the Institute of Technical Education.

As a result of the decision in the 1970s and 1980s not to train teachers or revise the curricula to include computers and information technology, Syria had to make dramatic changes in the late 1990s when the Ministry of Education placed top priority on incorporating information technology into the secondary and preparatory programs. The state's five-year development plan for 1996-2000 focused on adding compulsory information technology courses in secondary schools, technical intermediate institutions, and vocational and technical education centers. The plan for 2001-2005 targets the teaching and use of information technology in all secondary level classes and in technical and vocational schools as well as expanding computer training in other levels. By 2000, all secondary schools had computers, and by 2002, computers should be available in the preparatory schools.

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