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Arab States, Syria, Education, Curriculum Reform, Professional Development, Globalziation, Teachers

Wattar, Dania

Supervisor and department: Abdi, Ali Educational Policy Studies

Examining committee member and department: Niyozov, Sarfaroz OISE, University of Toronto Schultz, Lynnette Educational Policy Studies Kapoor, Dip Educational Policy Studies Chovanec, Donna Educational Policy Studies Kirova, Anna Elementary Education

Department: Department of Educational Policy Studies

Specialization: Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education

Date accepted: 2014-05-22T10:42:21Z

Graduation date: 2014-11

Degree: Doctor of Philosophy

Degree level: Doctoral

Abstract: Syria has witnessed major changes in the twenty-first century. Educational reform and change incurricula were part of this wave of changes. Globalization processes have affected the directionof many of the changes that took place in the country. In this dissertation, I started by exploringthe educational system in Syria and the changes that took place in the last decade. Educators’perspectives were provided to shed the light on educational change in Syria such as changes inthe science and math curricula as well as professional development practices in Syria. Topicssuch as assessment, languages in the curricula and technology were also explored. A criticalinterpretive study of the changes, informed by post-colonial theoretical perspectives, guided thestudy of changes and trends that are taking place in the educational system in Syria. Globalizationprocesses and the political context in Syria have affected many of the changes that took place in thelast decade. Tutoring and shadow education were explored as an increasing phenomenon ineducation with a great impact on public education.The study showed the need to support teachers and give them a greater role in educationalchange and curriculum reform. It emphasized on the bottom up approach to change and theimportance of understanding context and valuing indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, the studyprovided a critique of the rush to copy what is perceived as best practices without carefulconsideration of the context and consequences of such changes. In addition, recent changes in theSyrian situation were highlighted and the new emerging needs of Syrian students were explored.Reform in educational practices as well as professional development should be done with teachers asinitiator of such reform. Furthermore, curriculum should be responsive to the needs and traditions ofSyrian students. Assessment practices and further changes in the way teachers are assessed shouldcomplement any change in curricula. Furthermore, problems in the educational system should beaddressed to reduce inequalities and decrease dependence on tutoring and shadow education. The! iii!quality of education in the public system should be sufficient for students to learn without the need tolook for alternative modes of delivery. This also comes with improving the status of teachers andtreating them as partners in education. An awareness of globalization processes and awareness of theincreased presence of NGOs and foreign involvement in Syrian education is needed before anychange is brought about. The history, tradition and knowledge of Syrian people should be celebrated,encouraged, and considered when planning any reform. Despite the current desperate situation forSyrians inside and outside Syria, education can provide hope for the future of Syrian children.Planning such education with the involvement of community members and educators will providebetter chances for the Syrian people who suffered a lot and deserve a better future.

Language: English

DOI: doi:10.7939-R3Z31NV8W

Rights: Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.

Author: Wattar, Dania



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