Globalization, Curriculum Reform and Teacher Professional Development in Syria

  • Author / Creator
    Wattar, Dania
  • 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
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    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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Theoretical, Cultural and International Studies in Education
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Niyozov, Sarfaroz (OISE, University of Toronto)
    • Schultz, Lynnette (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Chovanec, Donna (Educational Policy Studies)
    • Kirova, Anna (Elementary Education)
    • Kapoor, Dip (Educational Policy Studies)