BRUSSELS — The Syriac language is an officially recognized language of the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA) in North and East Syria. Syriacs have full rights to teach their language in DAA schools. So far, the implementation of an official Syriac curriculum in the region has been slow. Attempts to introduce the Syriac language on private Syriac schools administered by the various Syriac churches in the DAA saw much resistance, from parents of the Kurdish and Arab students – which are the majority of students in the private Syriac schools – but also very much from within the own Syriac community. A much-cited argument of parents is that the future education of their children is endangered if they are not taught from the official state curriculum of the Syrian Arab Republic and the Ba’ath regime.
Co-Chair of the European Syriac Union (ESU) Fehmi Vergili spoke with SuroyoTV about the recent activities of the European Syriac Youth Union.
“On Sunday, more than 30 youth from the European Syriac Union Youth met under the difficult circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic in Brussels to discuss the most prominent issues and challenges facing our youth,” said Vergili.
A lecture on education in North and East of Syria was delivered in the presence of professors, intellectuals, and members of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people. Several other topics of interest to the Syriac people at home and abroad were also discussed.
“The youth’s willingness to keep in touch with the homeland is important,” Vergili said. “For this reason, in its meeting, the youth made contact with the comrades in Syria and learned about the most important developments and works that are taking place there.”
Members from the Education Committee in Syria, including Bethnahrin National Council (Mawtbo Umthoyo d’Bethnahrin, MUB) official responsible for education policy Kino Gabriel and Olaf Taw Association for the Syriac Language official Jalinos Eissa, participated in the meeting via video conference. They briefed the participants about the Syriac curriculum, its developments, and its role in the future of the Syriac people. They also discussed the recent agreement reached between Olaf Taw and the Syriac Orthodox Church to gradually introduce the curriculum into schools in areas governed by the Democratic Autonomous Administration (DAA).
They declared that two subjects, namely “Syriac Music” and “Reading”, will be introduced for Grades 1–4 in the Church’s private schools.
Gabriel spoke about the changes and developments that took place in Syria and their importance for the Syriac people. He also summarized the development of the DAA since its establishment and the participation of the Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) people in the political, cultural, and diplomatic spheres in North and East Syria.
Vergili concluded that more lectures like this one will be held in other European cities with significant Syriac (Aramean–Assyrian–Chaldean) diaspora populations.