The quantitative impact of armed conflict on education in Syria

Susy Ndaruhutse
Amy R West

This paper investigates the extent to which conflict has impacted on education in Syria. Using a variety of data sources, it attempts to quantify the impact in terms of the financial implications of the damage done to the education system.

It should be noted that the conflict situation in Syria has been escalating over time so any statistic relating to the number of out-of-school children (OOSC) can only give a snapshot at one particular point in time. A further challenge in Syria is that data since the start of the conflict is more limited and has had less external scrutiny over its accuracy. For these reasons the figures given in this paper are very rough estimates, exploring the approximate range in which the 'actual' number, often a highly transitory statistic, might lie. In some places, we have had to use regional data as a proxy as it was not possible to find certain data for Syria.

The report follows the methodology outlined in the report, The quantitative impact of armed conflict on education: counting the human and financial and costs (Jones and Naylor, 2014) commissioned by Protecting Education in Insecurity and Conflict, part of the Education Above All Foundation. In that report, Jones and Naylor (2014) outline ten main channels through which conflict can have an impact on access to education and learning:

  • School closure due to targeted attacks, collateral damage and military use of school buildings
  • Death and injury to teachers and students
  • Fear of sending children to school, and teachers' fear of attending due to targeted attacks, threats of attacks or general insecurity reducing freedom of movement
  • Recruitment of teachers and students by armed forces (state and non-state)
  • Forced population displacement leading to interrupted education
  • Public health impacts of conflict which reduce access and learning
  • Increased demand for household labour
  • Reduction in returns to education
  • Reduced educational expenditure (public and private) due to overall reduction in resources and shifting priorities
  • Reduced public capacity to deliver education