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Globalization, Curriculum Reform and Teacher Professional Development in Syria Open Access


Other title
Arab States
Curriculum Reform
Professional Development
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
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 of Educational Policy Studies
Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Syria has witnessed major changes in the twenty-first century. Educational reform and change in curricula were part of this wave of changes. Globalization processes have affected the direction of many of the changes that took place in the country. In this dissertation, I started by exploring the 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 in the science and math curricula as well as professional development practices in Syria. Topics such as assessment, languages in the curricula and technology were also explored. A critical interpretive study of the changes, informed by post-colonial theoretical perspectives, guided the study of changes and trends that are taking place in the educational system in Syria. Globalization processes and the political context in Syria have affected many of the changes that took place in the last decade. Tutoring and shadow education were explored as an increasing phenomenon in education with a great impact on public education. The study showed the need to support teachers and give them a greater role in educational change and curriculum reform. It emphasized on the bottom up approach to change and the importance of understanding context and valuing indigenous knowledge. Furthermore, the study provided a critique of the rush to copy what is perceived as best practices without careful consideration of the context and consequences of such changes. In addition, recent changes in the Syrian 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 as initiator of such reform. Furthermore, curriculum should be responsive to the needs and traditions of Syrian students. Assessment practices and further changes in the way teachers are assessed should complement any change in curricula. Furthermore, problems in the educational system should be addressed 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 to look for alternative modes of delivery. This also comes with improving the status of teachers and treating them as partners in education. An awareness of globalization processes and awareness of the increased presence of NGOs and foreign involvement in Syrian education is needed before any change 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 for Syrians 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 provide better chances for the Syrian people who suffered a lot and deserve a better future.
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.
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