Teacher dismissed from Syrian school in Turkey for ‘religious reasons’


ARA News

Gaziantep, Turkey− More than 200 Syrian schools were opened in Turkey as well as a Ministry of Education whithin the SNC-led Interim Government. However, there is no real-time coordination between these schools and the ministry, claiming that the priority is for education in the “liberated areas” inside Syria, and being unable to pay salaries. 

This chaotic situation in the education domain has led to many incidents. Here is one of the stories.

Teacher A.K., a bachelor of the Pedagogy College – Department of Classroom Teacher, submitted her CV to the recently established “Future Pioneers” School in Gaziantep, south of Turkey. The teacher told ARA News “the school director, Mohammed Killawi, asked me to undertake the oral interview, providing that I wear hijab (Islamic head cover). I agreed for financial reasons like many Syrian refugees in Turkey.”

The director hired her as an art and backup teacher, agreeing on wearing hijab only inside the school.

The teacher continued her story: “after a while, the director started talking to me about the divine precept of veiling women in Islam. I responded that everyone has his own beliefs in life.”

After two weeks of her work, there was an entertaining art activity for the schoolchildren, but the director refused displaying music during the activity, justifying that of not being consulted on the lyrics.

On the next day, the teacher was surprised that her work was suspended. The director’s excuse on that was “prioritization”. After a while, the teacher discovered that the director substituted her with another teacher who has a bachelor from Sharia College, teaching Islamic religion and art. The teacher realized then that “the priority is for veiled teachers”.

“I did not take offences from the dismissal decision, but rather from the unreasonable excuse behind it. For the director, Syrian people are classes and categories, so the priority for him is the category similar to his mentality,” she said.

The teacher moved for the Ministry of Education in the Syrian Interim Government to reconsider her “unjust and unjustifiable” dismissal decision.

“I’m not optimistic to come back teaching at the same school, but I want my rehabilitation and I want it to be a lesson learned, not to be repeated concerning other Syrian refugee teachers,” teacher A.K. stated during an interview with ARA News.

Director Mohammed Killawi answered ARA News on the issue of dismissing the abovementioned teacher, saying: “We did not conclusively dismiss her. She is a good teacher, but we have priorities concerning salaries that should go to specialized teachers. Currently, we don’t need art classes.” He also added “she is in a probationary phase and I want her back in summer school.”

This case occurred more than once at the school, as the director elaborated: “Once with a doctor from Aleppo University, but the doctor did not respond the way teacher A.K. did.”

As an answer to ARA News query about the alternative, the director of the “Future Pioneers” School replied: “The alternative was a bachelor of Sharia College, still it was not the main reason for hiring her, but because she has better skills than teacher A.K, whom I accepted by an individual decision and she was not good at teaching. What matters for me are skills more than degree, but of course after referring back to the ministry and the Nation Education Assembly.” 

“I’m not a preacher and have no affiliations. My preference is moderate Islam and I am against the ideas affronting education and nation,” Killawi argued. 

Teacher A.K. concluded by saying: “Unfortunately, we did not get rid of the injustice of the corrupted Syrian regime to come and see the same in our schools. We make tyrants by being silent, I, no longer, want to be silent.”

This is not the first incident of its kind. In an earlier report by ARA News, Amin Mustafa, an English teacher, accused the administration of “Teaching without Borders”, a Syrian school in the southern Turkish city of Urfa, of being corrupted and hiring teachers on basis of their ethnic affiliation.


Reporting by: Ali Isso

Source: ARA News


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