Tags: education | syria

Education Expert: Higher Education in Syria is a Catastrophe

By Courtney Coren and Kathleen Walter   |   Thursday, 26 Sep 2013 10:48 AM

The education system in Syria, especially higher education, has been devastated and targeted by the Syrian regime in the civil war there, international education expert Allen Goodman tells Newsmax.

"It's a catastrophe and it really illustrates to all of us how much better peace is than war but in the case of Syrian higher education, it was a perfect storm," the CEO of the Institute of International Education says in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV.

"The universities were targeted and bombed early, faculty members and students that provided first aid were labeled by the regime as aiding the terrorists," Goodman explains.

Then, he explains, the rebels as well as the government saw the students as potential recruits.

"Both the government and the rebel groups set up check points so that if you were a student trying to get to university, even if you had a draft deferment document from the army, if you were stopped by a military checkpoint of the government said rip it up, we're drafting you immediately," Goodman says. "If you were stopped by a rebel group, they said forget about going to school, we need you to fight on the front lines."

The Institute for International Education began in 1919 after World War I and it works to help promote access to education worldwide. Goodman says that the group helped to "rescue scholars from the Nazis in the 1930s.

"One of the people we rescued invented the MRI and that's saved thousands and thousands of people's lives," he pointed out

They currently have a project to address the "academic emergency" taking place in war-torn Syria by trying to help the students there find "safe haven countries until they can return home to help rebuild their country." Thirty-five colleges and universities, mostly in the United States, have already signed on to help.

Goodman is confident that "the moment peace breaks out, education rebuilds."

"Wars do end. Rescued scholars and students do return to their home countries because, after all, it is home," he added.

"After the atomic bombs in Japan at the end of World War II, one of the most striking things [was that] within 24 hours, grass began to grow after this huge devastation. The same will happen when higher education gets a chance to rebuild."

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