More than 670,000 children have been denied education after Islamic State ordered schools in its regime to be shut down, saying they would be reopened only after the curriculum is Islamicized so religion replaces all existing standard subjects.
“In December there was a decree of the Islamic State ordering the stoppage of education in areas under its control. …This is seriously affecting the schooling of an estimated 670,000 children,” the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman Christophe Boulierac told the press.
Reportedly, Islamic State ordered all schools teach its students only those texts that are compliant with religious rules. The militant organization also ordered teachers in areas it controls, including Deir al Zor, Raqqa and Aleppo, to undergo training so they are equipped enough to teach the revised curriculum.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Islamic State intends to get rid of all academic courses except religious studies, because it considers subjects like philosophy, mathematics and chemistry as blasphemous. Approximately 4.3 million children in Syria attend schools in these areas where Islamic State has decided to put to effect the new revisions. The Syrian Education Ministry said as many as 2.1 million children have stopped going to school completely or are not attending classes regularly.
Children have also been targets of Islamic State attacks on schools, with at least 160 pupils having lost their lives and 343 being wounded, according to UNICEF’s estimates.
“In addition to lack of school access, attacks on schools, teachers and students are further horrific reminders of the terrible price Syria's children are paying in a crisis approaching its fifth year,” Hanaa Singer, UNICEF representative in Syria said in a statement.
Over 8 million children in Syria have been affected by the ongoing war, as 1.7 million continue to live as refugees.
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