University in Israel
Damascus – Arabstoday
University enrollment from the Golan Heights region of Syria has seen a dramatic decrease in numbers since the beginning of the revolution. Students are turning to Israeli institutions to obtain
higher education as a result of the prevailing uncertainty around Syria’s future
New data published by the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv, suggests that university enrolment in Syria has decreased by 75 percent each year since 2011. Only 132 students from the occupied Golan Heights enrolled in Syrian universities in the 2011-2012 academic year. Between 1997 and 2001, 90 percent (approximately 400 students in each academic year) of students from the Golan Heights enrolled in Syrian universities.
Syrian universities are also affected by high dropout rates due to the revolution. Of the 132 students that enrolled in 2011, only 37 re-registered for the academic year beginning in 2012. Only 17 of the 37 students that enrolled in 2012 remain in Syria to complete the academic year.
Decreasing attendance at Syrian universities from students in the Golan Heights region has been linked to the closing of the Quneitra crossing which links the Golan Heights to Syria.
The Golan Heights is a long-disputed region which has been occupied by Israeli forces since the Six-Day War in 1981. Though Arab residents in the region have consistently resisted the Israeli government’s efforts to issue Israeli citizenship, students in the region are now looking to Israel in the hope of a brighter future.
According to Maariv, high school students in the Golan Heights have begun learning the Hebrew language and acquainting themselves with the Israeli school curriculum in order to obtain a Bagrut certificate, which is the equivalent of a high school diploma, and will enable students to enroll in Israeli universities.
Majdel Shames, a local council leader from the Golan Heights commented “ever since the civil war erupted, we started directing students [toward] attaining learning modules in the Hebrew language so they master it.”
Local councils have approached Israeli universities and asked them to accept transfers of students from Syrian universities.