In spite of the long-standing conflict in their country, many high school students in Syria chose to study hard in pursuit of a better future, hoping to gain knowledge to help rebuild their war-ravaged country. \"The crisis has made us more determined to be successful in order to build Syria,\" Amir Saleh, a 12th-grade student told Xinhua after finishing his physics exam at Salhuddien al-Habbaj school. One of his classmate, Ibrahimi Habib, echoed Saleh, saying \" everyone of us should do what he has to do in order to benefit the homeland.\" The high school exams in Syria, which stretch from June 2 to 18, are important for Saleh and his classmates as their grades determine the major that they would undertake in public and private universities. Samera Dalati, a female student from the restive al-Qaboun district of Damascus, told Xinhua at the Zaki al-Arsouzi school that they were affected a little bit by the frequent displacement of families and the shelling sound from hotspots surrounding the capital Damascus. \"However, eventually we have managed to prepare well for the exam,\" the girl said. Aida Qatranji, the principal of al-Arsouzi school, said that \" the exams atmosphere is relatively good this year.\" But she highlighted the difficulty of arriving at the exam centers on time since some streets were blocked. \"Yesterday, a student came late but I had to let her in,\" she said. On June 2, more than 371,000 students took the exams at more than 3,235 exam centers, Abdulhakim Hammad, Syria\'s deputy education minister, told Xinhua, adding that \"We are struggling to secure all the students\' needs.\" The 26-month-old crisis in Syria has overwhelmed all aspects of life, including the education system, as some families in restive areas have declined this year to send their kids to schools or have enrolled their kids in neighboring countries\' schools. The United Nations International Children\'s Emergency Fund ( UNICEF) said recently \"one-fifth of the country\'s schools have suffered direct physical damage or are being used to shelter displaced people.\" \"At least 2,400 schools have been damaged or destroyed... Over 1,500 schools are being used as shelters for displaced people,\" the UN agency said in its latest study, adding that more than 110 teachers and staffers have been killed. In Syria\'s northwestern province of Idlib, teacher attendance is no more than 55 percent, according to the UNICEF, while in the northern hotspot of Aleppo student attendance has dropped to as low as 6 percent.