Cultural Profile

1- SWIS assists students in learning about the school setting and empowers them to reach their full potential and succeed in Canada.

2- SWIS helps families understand the school system and support their children, and provides information and referral on other aspects of life in Canada.

3- SWIS supports school staff to see the school and its requirements through the eyes of the newcomer.


In China, there are four different types of schools including kindergarten (3yrs-5yrs), elementary schools (6yrs-12yrs), middle schools (13yrs-15yrs), and high schools (16yrs-18yrs). In 1986, the Chinese government passed a compulsory education law, making 9 years education mandatory for all citizens with no cost. Therefore, the elementary and middle schools in China are under the public system funded by the Chinese government. After graduating from high school, the majority of the students who wants to pursue higher education such as universities will take the national higher education entrance examination.

Under the Law on 9 years mandatory education, elementary and middle schools are receiving students who are living in the neighborhoods and villages. Parents pay a small amount for the textbooks and after school activities. Most of schools have 7 classes in a day with forty-five minutes of each class. On average, 30-40 students are in one classroom except in the big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai, there are around 40-60 students in a classroom.

Students are required to wear uniforms from Monday to Friday. Some schools even require the standard hair style for students. Here are some pictures of the students’ lives in the schools.


Ethiopia: A Country Education Profile (Fact Sheet)

Area: 1,251,280 Sq. Km

Population: 65 Million

Languages: Amharic (official), Oromigna, Tigrigna and 80 other major languages are spoken. English, French, Italian and Arabic are also widely spoken.

Religion: The dominant religions are Ethiopian Orthodox and Islam. Judaism and Animism are also practiced in some parts of the country.

Economy: Major Industrial Products: food and beverages, textiles, leather, cement, metal products, paper, plastic products, automotive and tractor assemble, tires etc.

Major Agricultural Products: coffee, tea, oilseeds, cotton, tobacco, fruits, pepper, sugar cane, fish and livestock.

Major Exports: coffee, oilseeds, hides and livestock.

Major Imports: machinery and equipment, industrial inputs, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.

Prospects: The country has the highest number of livestock in Africa, is the third largest coffee exporter and has immense potential for mining (gold, tantalum, platinum, petroleum, coal and natural gas). The country is endowed with abundant water resources and hydropower, geothermal, and solar energy potential. It has great potential for a strong labor force as about 50% of the population is in youth age category.

History: The history of Ethiopia, known to many as Abyssinia, is rich, ancient, and still in part unknown. The first hominid remain known as “Lucy” ( 3.2 million years old) were found in Ethiopia. Ethiopian history is rich with legends of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. Ethiopia is the only African country never colonized by any European country. In fact, Ethiopia defeated Italy at the Battle of Adwa (1896), making the first victory of any African nation over a European colonial power.

Ethiopia:Ethiopia has a base of traditional education (church) with its own script which is very elaborate and complex. The development of modern education in Ethiopia is at an early stage. The literacy rate at present is one of the lowest in Africa and is estimated at 50 %. In 1999 there were about 9.6 million primary, 3 million junior secondary and 5.7 million senior secondary school students.

First Cycle Primary Schools, Grades 1-4: Children enter primary school at various ages because of the agrarian nature of the economy and the possibility of transfer from traditional church or mosque education to modern education. Teaching is in the Mother Tongue for the majority of children depending on their regions. English is taught as a foreign language. There are about 15 Teacher Training Institutes and there is a plan to increase TTIs through distance education, correspondence etc.

Second Cycle Primary Schools, Grades 5-8: Admission to first and second cycle primary schools is open to all students. Usually schools combine the two cycles in a compound. A substantial number of teachers are certified by going through a one or two years teacher training scheme. There are 8 Teacher Training Colleges for this cycle of teachers. Primary enrollment is about 50%.

Second Cycle: At the end of the second cycle of primary education all students in all regions are required to take the 8th Grade National Examination which is administered by the National Office for Examination (NOE) in order to ensure the quality of primary education and coverage of the curriculum (standard). Selection to secondary schools is based on the National Examination results and availability of openings in the regional schools. Students are streamlined after the National Examination results to various academic, vocational, agricultural, industrial sciences and home economic fields. The core curriculum for all programs include: English, Mathematics, Physical and Life Sciences, Social Studies, National Languages and Physical Education. Secondary enrollment is about 30 percent.

The Ethiopian General Secondary Education Certificate Examination (EGSECE) -10th Grade National Examination: Last year (June 2001) students have sat for the New National Examination at the end of 10th grade which is known us the Ethiopian General Secondary Education of Certificate Examination (EGSECE). These students will be streamlined into Academic (College preparation) and Vocational and Technical schools based on their results. Those going into academic fields are expected to sit for college entrance examination after two years of preparation and the others will either join the labor market or be self- employed. It is hoped that the first College Entrance Examination will be given sometime April/May 2003.

Examination: The educational system in Ethiopia is organized in cycles or levels of formal schooling. The first and second cycle primary education is demarcated by internal (classroom) examination at the end of each cycle and by a National Examination (external examination) at the end of the second cycle. The secondary education begins from 9th grade and ends by 12th grade. At the end of 12th grade students sit for the Ethiopian School Leaving Certificate Examination (ESLCE) which is administered once a year in March/April with results due in August or September. Students are required to complete 12 years of primary and secondary education and pass the 8th and 12th grade National Examinations in order to apply for any higher education. Examinees should score a minimum of 2.00 on a scale of 4.00 or “C” in at least five subjects: English, Mathematics (both compulsory) and any other three subjects.

Higher Education: The foundation of universities and colleges is a consequence of primarily a national initiative in a country which has little tradition of formal education. The Ethiopian University system has developed in eclectic fashion and has not been modeled on any single foreign system. The first higher education institute, the Addis Ababa University College was established in 1950. At present there are 6 universities and 20 colleges including 10 private colleges accredited by the MOE. The government has taken the initiative in opening new universities and colleges and expanding and upgrading the already existing colleges of engineering, education and health sciences in various regions of the country. Tertiary enrollment is about 1 percent.

Ethiopia : A Country Education Profile (Fact Sheet)

School System in Iran

A brief review of Iranian educational system, September 2001 Source. – Iran Chamber Society

Having the world’s youngest population, the Islamic Republic of Iran bears the responsibility of educating more than 18 million students at segregated schools. General education is free and parents are obliged to enroll their six years old children at schools. It comprises 5 years of primary, 3 years of lower secondary, 3 years of upper secondary and one year of pre-university education. The language of instruction is Farsi. The first day of school year is 22 September (1st Mehr), which is annually celebrated joyfully.

In the past two decades, the education system and curricula have been reformed several times. The new system of secondary education is the result of several reforms made according to the changes in society, job market and the needs of youth. This new system is oriented toward vocational training and has provided young people with many options to select desirable fields of study, jobs and careers. In the past five years the number of technical- vocational schools has increased noticeably and efforts have been made to lead more female students to technical-vocational education.

Since education is considered a top priority in the development plans of the country, the authorities have endeavored to increase the primary education enrollment rate. The net intake rate had an ascending trend in the 1990’s such that the rate grew from 89.4% in 1990 to 97.8% in 2000.

Iran is one of the few developing countries with great success in girls’ education. At present, girls comprise 49% of the total student population in the country. Attempts are being made to remove the obstacles in the way of girls’ education and to provide equal educational opportunities for them. In 2000 the net intake rate was 97.8% at primary, 90.3% at lower secondary, and 69.1% at upper secondary levels.

Application of modern educational equipment and technologies such as information and communication technologies is developing considerably and the number of schools enjoying computer use is rapidly rising. Some schools in Tehran and other large cities are linked to the Internet. A project has recently been launched for linking some high schools via a national electronic network (Intranet). Teaching methods and approaches are constantly being reviewed and updated. Although traditional methods and teacher-based approaches are still widely used, efforts are being made to provide teachers with in-service training aiming at updating their knowledge on new teaching methods and classroom control so that cooperative and student-based approaches replace the traditional ones.

Decentralization of education and attracting community participation as well as vesting more authority in provinces and schools for decision making and selection of curricula geared to local needs are among the plans on which emphasis has been placed in the past few years.

Higher education in Iran

Universities and higher education institutes are governed by a board of trustees. Newly founded and smaller higher education institutes are governed by a joint regional board of trustees. The number of state universities has grown from 22 in 1978 to 98 in 2000.

Public sector

Presently, 54 universities and institutes of higher education are active under the Ministry of Science, research and Technology. In addition, the comprehensive Applied Sciences University was established in order to strengthen technical and vocational education and train skillful manpower needed for industry, agriculture and service sectors.

Private sector

Islamic Azad University; as the first private university, Azad University benefited from educational facilities including buildings, equipment and laboratories offered by local officials and generous people. The university is presently active in over 110 cities in Iran with more than half a million students.

Other private institutes of higher education

Some 33 private institutes of higher education, offering both undergraduate and postgraduate courses with about 23,000 students are active in Iran.

Distance Education

Payam-e-Nour University aimed to expand higher education in remote areas for employed candidates, takes part in training of specialized manpower and make efficient use of educational potentials and facilities. The university admitted students in 18 disciplines through nationwide entrance examinations in 147 centers across the country. Of a total of 146,990 students in the academic year 1998-99, 52% were female.


The number of students enrolled in all institutions in the academic year 1998-99 was 1,308,150 including 47.62% students in the public sector and 52.38% students in the private sector. The proportion of female students was 42.26% in the public sector and 44.46% in the private sector. A total of 347,722 students were admitted by universities and higher education institutes of public and private sectors. The number of enrollments in the public sector was 45.64%, including 45.52% female students.


In academic year 1997-98 a total of 246,437 students graduated from universities and higher education institutes, including 36.41% graduates from public and 63.59 graduates from private universities.  


A Quality Education in Iraq

Source –

Education is fast becoming a casualty of Iraq’s ongoing conflict, despite extraordinary determination on the part of government and families to keep schools functioning. Prior to 1990, education was a thriving sector in Iraq. But after two decades of war and deprivation, the quality and availability of learning deteriorated dramatically. By 2000, budget constraints were seriously limiting the provision of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials. Fewer resources were available to rehabilitate dilapidated school infrastructure, denying children the opportunity to study in a child-friendly environment. The advent of war again in 2003 has contributed to a general “stalling” of progress in education. Girls continue to suffer most severely in many parts of the country.

Today, despite some positive achievements in northern and southern Iraq, ongoing violence is posing new challenges in the country’s central zone. In an insecure atmosphere where schools have been targeted, many parents are having to choose between education and safety for their children, with girls once again the most affected. But even in these challenging conditions, millions of children are still attending school whenever they have the chance

Priority Issues:

  • Children out of school in and around Baghdad: The current school year has seen a sharp decline in attendance at school in Iraq’s south central zone, particularly girls. Closures & absenteeism are now a daily fact of life. Many schools in Anbar and Diyala failed to open at the start of the school year. In Baghdad attendance has been hampered by curfews and fear of violence.
  • Girl’s education in southern Iraq: In most rural areas of southern governorates, where poverty and traditional attitudes still hold sway, fewer than half of girls are in school.
  • Rehabilitation of school buildings: A massive national program of rehabilitation is ongoing. In 2004, it was estimated that close to 85% of the existing 14,000 schools need rehabilitation. The security downturn has affected the rehabilitation process, lengthening the average duration of a rehabilitation project from three months to up to nine.
  • Teacher training: some 220,000 teachers are still in need of training in school management, child-friendly teaching methods and psychological care for traumatized children.

An Introduction to Russian Educational Systems

Source – Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation

In the Russian Federation, there are 180,000 educational establishments of all types and categories. About 35 million people or 23 percent of the total population of the country are annually involved in one type of education or another. More than 6 million people are employed in the sphere of education.

The system of education in Russia evolved for centuries under the influence of Christianity, and since the end of the Seventeenth Century, under the influence of the Enlightenment. In the Twentieth Century, when general and professional education came more than ever to be considered as a factor of social and economic change and as an inherent individual right, illiteracy was eliminated, access to higher education was extended, and an educational system for adults was created. Many persons, however, came to feel that the educational system, that had been built up by the beginning of the 1980’s, was not sufficiently flexible and not entirely capable of meeting the demands of individuals.

The socio-political changes that have been taking place in Russia and the transition to a market economy have led to a need to reform the education system. The Constitution of the Russian Federation of 1993 and the federal law On Education of 1992 and its 1996 revisions strengthened the right of citizens to education, stimulated the democratization of life in educational institutions, extended academic freedom and institutional autonomy, and promoted the humanization of education. The former centralized and unified system was replaced by a system which, to a fuller extent, takes into account the interests of students and teachers, of the academic community, and of employers. The non-state education sector, including educational establishments founded by both individuals and by non-state organizations, has been developing rapidly. The Federal Program for the Development of Education, aimed at the encouragement of innovations in all components of the education system, has been designed for the support of educational reforms.

In recent years, the system of education of the Russian Federation has been undergoing drastic changes in the framework of the comprehensive transformation of the country as a whole.

The main changes have been proceeding along the following lines:

  • Diversification: emergence of new types of educational institutions, introduction of a multi-level higher education system (Bakalavr and Magistr degrees in addition to the traditional Diploma-Specialist degree), and profound changes in curricula;
  • Democratization: expansion of academic freedom and institutional autonomy, an increase in the number of public and buffer organizations;
  • Quality of education: strengthening of a mechanism for evaluation and quality control;
  • Content of education: in-depth changes in many disciplines, especially in political science, history, economics, law, and others.

Education in Somalia

Source –

Education services in Somalia are provided by a variety of stakeholders, including Community Education Committees, regional administrations, community-based organizations, educational umbrella groups and networks, NGOs and religious groups. The role and reach of governments in overseeing the delivery of education has increased, albeit slowly. Despite major improvements in overall school enrolment over the last eight years, only 710,860 children out of an estimated 1.7 million (UNDP projection) of primary school age children – 42 per cent of children – are in school. Of those at school, 36 per cent are girls.

Only 15 per cent of the teaching force are women with the majority being unqualified. The average primary student teacher ratio is 1:33. These national figures hide significant regional level variations.

Poor learning outcomes are reflected in the high repetition and drop-out rates and low examination pass rates. Less than 38 per cent of those enrolled in 2001/2002 in grade one successfully progressed to grade five in 2006/2007. Only 37 per cent of girls who transitioned from primary school took the Form Four exam in 2011/2012. The demand for secondary school education continues to grow steadily, yet girls make up only 28 per cent of students at that level.

Priority Issues

  • Management Challenges at all Levels Since the 1990s, community-based groups known as Community Education Committees and development agencies have been largely responsible for the delivery of education services in Somalia. The Ministries of Education are gradually taking over with improved systems and capacities particularly at central levels.
  • Quality of Education Overall, the quality of teaching across all three zones remains poor due to limited opportunities for teacher training and the lack of a salary system managed by a central Education Ministry. Most teachers are trained by UNICEF and NGOs and incentives are paid by local communities with top-ups from UNICEF and partners.
  • Conflict and Continuing Insecurity In areas affected by armed conflict, there have also been reports of recruitment of children from schools. Because of continued insecurity, UNICEF relies on local partners, Community Education Committees and umbrella organizations with operational access in Central South Somalia. Limited partner capacity for reporting, monitoring and effective financial management continues to be a constraint.
  • Absence of Planning Data Effective planning has been hampered by the lack of accurate and reliable data, including Educational Management Information System (EMIS) and enrollment data, while regular monitoring in insecure areas is difficult and often impossible. However, in 2011 the Education Ministries in Puntland and Somaliland with financial and technical support from UNICEF conducted a Primary School Census. In Central South Somalia, UNICEF, the Education Ministry and education stakeholders are currently conducting a pilot school survey in some districts of Mogadishu.

Schools, Universities and Educational Institutions

Source –

Education in Ukraine is given great attention by the government and a large number of facilities and institutions exist for the purpose of educating the population. The system of education in Ukraine extends right from pre-school to higher education.

Ukraine’s educational legislation places great importance on pre-school education. This early form of education is to be cared for by the family or through a pre-school institution. A variety of institutions are available for this level of education in Ukraine and include day care centers, kindergartens and special facilities for disabled children. Provision is also made for orphans.

Elementary school education in Ukraine forms the foundation of a child’s schooling career. Ukraine’s Law on Education states that provision of elementary schools must be made wherever there are students. Elementary or primary education acts to develop children’s personalities, talents, formation of morals, working education as well as knowledge of the human body, nature, industry and society. This level of education is compulsory in Ukraine and is available at various types of institutions. Students begin secondary comprehensive schooling at the age of 6 or 7 years.

Basic school also falls under the secondary education system in Ukraine. This is the students’ last level of formal basic education. This level of education provides the link to continuous education systems. It is compulsory to attend basic school for five years. Formal basic education is completed between the ages of 14 and 16 years. On completion of basic schooling the student will receive a certificate allowing them to continue on to upper secondary school as well as certain higher education institutions.

Ukraine has a very well-developed higher education system. Higher education is provided by higher education establishments, private bodies and scientific and methodological facilities of the government. This system also encompasses post-graduate programs and Ph.D’s as well as self-education. The levels of accreditation depend on the Higher Education Institutes’ status. Level one includes vocational schools and the like who train junior specialists. Level two are colleges and similar organizations who teach bachelors. Level three is made up of universities, institutes, academies and conservatories which provide education for bachelors and specialists. Level four includes universities, conservatories, institutes and academies which educate bachelors, specialists and masters.

It is evident that the system of education in Ukraine has been well-developed and opportunities exist for the entire population, even those living in the rural areas.

Education in Burma

Source – Oxford Burma Alliance

Regufees of Burma

In the past, Burma was admired for the widespread literacy of its people and high-quality education standards. As a British colony, Burma further developed its educational standards, and upon gaining independence in 1948, and boasting one of the highest literacy rates in Asia in the late 1940s and 1950s, it was expected to become one of the fastest developing Asian Tigers of the region.

However, despite its good track record, Burma’s education system is now in an abysmal state. According to data compiled by the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index, Burma ranks 164th, out of 168 countries, for public expenditure on education, spending just 1.3% of its GDP on education (UNESCO, 2001). Consequently, the education system has disintegrated and students now spend very little time in school, with few making it to university. Those who do make it to university will not only have to pay high fees, but will not be allowed to choose their area of study. The government assigns their courses based on the scores of their matriculation exam, regardless of whether or not they have any interest in the subject, and despite the fact that there are almost no jobs in certain fields students continue to be assigned to subjects like physics and zoology (Fink, Living Silence in Burma,197).

Education in Burma is only compulsory for five years, and the majority of students drop out after this short period; according to UNESCO, only 50% of Burma’s children are enrolled in secondary education. This is in stark contrast with international standards. To compare, in the United Kingdom around 96% of children attend secondary school. Moreover, due to lack of financing, schools are poorly equipped and academic resources and materials are often outdated.

Parents are asked to pay an annual fee, said to contribute to “building maintenance, school furniture and school books,” says Aung Myo Min, director of the Human Rights Education Institute of Burma (HREIB), even though Burma has laws stipulating that primary school education is free. The fee in primary schools amounts to about US$100 – half of a mid-ranking civil servant’s monthly salary in Burma – and is even higher in secondary schools. The problem primarily affects families in poor, rural areas. For those living outside of the cities (a vast majority of the population in Burma), educating children often means not only paying the fee, but also paying for transport to school. While both genders are negatively affected by these costs, girls often pay a heavier price. As Lway Aye Nang, secretary-general of Women’s League of Burma (WLB), told IPS News, “In both the cities and in rural areas, there is a greater likelihood that parents may keep theirs boys in school and take the girls out. Family members do not support daughters going to school if there is limited funding.” Consequently, the faulty educational system leads to the deepening of differences between genders, consolidating inequality within the society.

The education system in Burma is discriminatory not only with respect to gender and income level, but also when it comes to ethnicity. Curricula in Burma are controlled by the government and written in the spirit of the “unifying of the nation” program, endorsed by the SPDC and stemming from the long-standing conflict between the Burmese military and ethnic rebels. As a result, the ethnic diversity of Burmese society is overlooked, aggravating ethnic conflicts. Community-based schools (which are not only adjusted to local traditions, but also cheaper) are often shut down, which leaves the state-controlled schools as the only alternative. Consequently, some of the ethnic minorities find it difficult to preserve their cultures and retain their languages.

One of the main reasons for the poor state of education in Burma is political. Historically, students were one of the groups that actively and adamantly opposed the regime. After the military coup in 1962, students started organizing peaceful demonstrations and protests to express their dissatisfaction with the military government. The protests were violently suppressed and in 1988, in response to the students’ persistent demands for justice and human rights, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) – the name for the government at the time – closed down all the universities. In 1990 they reopened, now with a new, government-controlled curriculum. However, in 1996 they were closed yet again – this time for three years. Currently, there are 156 universities in Burma, scattered across different regions so as to make access difficult, and the curriculum is still strictly controlled by the government.

Internationally, education is regarded as an indispensable human right. In Burma, however, it is marginalized and inaccessible to most citizens. The ruling elite understands that education is dangerous to their maintenance of power and control: when people are educated they question the government and demand their rights. Young people from Burma often move to Thailand or other neighboring countries to attend school and university so that they can challenge the oppression and injustice of the government and help bring democracy, human rights and development to Burma. Many international NGOs and charities specializing in education are based along the Thai-Burmese border, teaching English and human rights to these young Burmese students. However, living on the border is risky – refugees risk being arrested and deported back to Burma, where many are in danger of becoming political prisoners and being subjected to torture.

Representatives of the government insist that the education standards in Burma conform with those set out by the UN as part of the Millennium Development Goals. However, considering the meager part of the budget that is spent on education, as well as the history of violence against students and restricted freedom of speech, international observers have some serious doubts about whether this is really the case. The fact that so many young Burmese see leaving the country as the only way to educate themselves speaks for itself.

Education in Liberia

Source – USAID


The Liberian education system is emerging from a prolonged and brutally destructive period of civil unrest. Liberia is significantly behind most other countries in the African region in nearly all education statistics. After 14 years of civil war, which resulted in the destruction of much of the country’s trained workforce, the country is still in the process of rebuilding its educational system. USAID, in concert with other donors, works with the Ministry of Education (MOE) to address education challenges related to access, quality of instruction, human, and financial resources.

USAID’s education programs focus on improving the quality of teaching and learning (especially in early grade reading and math), and increasing equitable access to safe learning opportunities for girls, as well as for youth who missed out on education due to the prolonged civil conflict. The USAID basic education project is helping rebuild the curricula, teaching and management staff, instructional and learning resources, data systems and policy environment essential to providing basic education services to all Liberians.

Policy Reform

USAID works in support of policy reforms that set new directions for education in Liberia, and in 2011 a new Education Reform Act was signed into law by President Johnson Sirleaf. USAID, through its Liberia Teacher Training Program II, also supports Ministry of Education efforts to decentralize operations through assistance in preparing administrative regulations and policy guidelines, developing a new management structure, establishing a monitoring and evaluation framework and installing a comprehensive education management information system to ensure timely data for decision making.

Higher Education

The Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development project partnered with the University of Liberia and Cuttington University to build Centers of Excellence to expand access to, improve the quality of, and enhance the relevance of higher education programs in engineering and agriculture, fields that are critical to address Liberia’s development challenges.

The Center for Excellence in Health and Life Sciences project manages the implementation of program objectives of the Africa-U.S. Higher Education Initiative partnership between Indiana University and the University of Liberia. The project focuses on increasing University of Liberia’s teaching and learning resources for medicine, nursing, midwifery, life sciences, and public health through the creation of a new two-year, Core Health and Life Science undergraduate program, as well as improvements in quality of instruction through faculty and staff strengthening, curriculum development, and upgrades in instructional resources.

Youth and Workforce Development

The Advancing Youth Project works to enhance the capacity of the MOE and non-governmental organizations to provide increased access to alternative basic education, social opportunities, leadership development, and sustainable livelihoods pathways for out-of-school Liberian youth. The support ensures the Ministry of Education and organizations are able to provide youth with little or no previous schooling with the educational and work-readiness skills and training necessary to succeed. Through Liberia Teacher Training Program II, USAID assists the MOE to develop a teacher professional development system, through revision of national professional development and certification standards, development of a teacher career ladder and approaches for improved teacher recruitment, training and deployment. USAID also assists the Ministry’s efforts to normalize the payroll and combat corruption through the installation of a national teacher finger print identification card system linked to the payroll and education management information system. The program supports government efforts to implement the pre-service primary level certification teacher training program; strengthen the Rural Teacher Training Institutes; and through school-based teacher training, implement Liberia’s national plan to ensure all children are reading by the end of Grade 3.

Girls Education

Through the Girls’ Opportunities to Access Learning program, funded by the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s Threshold Grant to Liberia, USAID is working to increase girls’ enrollment, attendance and retention in primary schools in Lofa, Bong, and Grand Bassa counties. At the national level, the project addresses the challenge of overage enrollment and broadens the impact of the Program’s efforts through its support to the Ministry of Education to update its National Policy on Girls’ Education. Results of research undertaken during the project will provide an evidence base to determine which interventions resulted in the greatest change in key outcomes, and will assist Liberia in addressing policy areas for improvement to close the gender gap in primary schooling.

Education in Syria

Source – OpenLearn

Refugees in Syria

Syria has made a significant investment in education, as has been demonstrated by its excellent literacy rates – about four-fifths of the Syrian population is literate. When the Ba’ath took control of Syria in the Sixties, education became a top priority, used as a means of ensuring development and at the same time exercising a strong influence over the masses.

Syrians value the need for a good education and intellectual development. Public demand for education has remained strong, reflecting the importance of education as a means of social progress. Aware of the added value of education to the world of work, the government continues to innovate and update the education system in order to produce a qualified and competent workforce to meet the economic and social needs of Syrians. In the public and private sectors there is a strong belief that sustained employee development and training is seen as an investment for future generations.

Education expenditure

The Syrian government finances education at all levels, notably boosting the proportion of its total expenditure from 12.6 percent in 2000 to 15.7 percent in 2005. During this time, the ratio of education expenditure to GDP increased from 2.7 percent to 4.3 percent.

Syria’s educational aspirations

Education in Syria is controlled and run by the state; the Ministry of Education outlines the curriculum, sets the teaching aims and outcomes and provides the teaching material and support. In 1981, the government passed a law making education free and compulsory for all Syrian children from grades 1 to 6.

The education system in Syria

Lessons are taught in Arabic, with English and French taught as the first and second foreign languages. According to the 2007 census, 98 percent of schools in Syria are state-run against 1.8 percent which are private. In 2007, there were 8 million students in the education system of Syria (4 million in primary education, 1.4 million in secondary and 2.3 million in higher). Given the current growth rate in the school age population, it is estimated that by 2015, the education system in Syria will need to provide for an additional one million pupils in primary and secondary education.

The school system in Syria is divided into primary and secondary education levels; schooling consists of 6 years of primary education followed by a 3-year general or vocational training period and a 3-year academic or vocational programme. The second 3-year period of academic training is required for university admission. Schools are divided into three levels:

  1. 1st to 6th grade: Primary Education Level
  2. 7th to 9th grade: Lower Secondary Education Level
  3. 10th to 12th grade: Upper Secondary Education, equivalent to the sixth form in the UK

Final exams of the 9th grade are set nationally and are taken at the same time. The result of these exams determines if the student moves to the secondary schools or to the vocational secondary schools. Vocational secondary schools include those for male students studying industry and agriculture, arts and crafts school for female students, and business and computer science schools for both.

At the beginning of the 11th grade, those who go to secondary school have to choose whether to study either Arts or Sciences. The final exams of the 12th grade (the baccalaureate) are also set nationally and are all taken at the same time. The result of these exams entitles the student access to university according to his/her category of baccalaureate.


Discipline in school follows a universal strategy in Syria. Students are given a series of warnings, then the parents are brought in for a chat, and finally the student is suspended for a few days if things still don’t improve.


The rapid population growth is one of huge challenges facing the country. For instance, the fight to curb the growing unemployment rate, especially amongst young people suggests that education remains one of the government’s top priorities in Syria. Over the last decade, Syria has introduced bold reforms to develop a higher quality of education and improve the current infrastructure. Enhancing the standard of living for Syrians through better economic and social conditions is currently one of the government’s main objectives.

The Education System in Philippines

The education system of the Philippines has been highly influenced by the country’s colonial history. That history has included periods of Spanish, American and Japanese rule and occupation. The most important and lasting contributions came during America’s occupation of the country, which began in 1898. It was during that period that English was introduced as the primary language of instruction and a system of public education was first established—a system modeled after the United States school system and administered by the newly established Department of Instruction. Read More

Republic of the Philippines – Department of Education

Our Mandate
The Department of Education was established through the Education Decree of 1863 as the Superior Commission of Primary Instruction under a Chairman. The Education agency underwent many reorganization efforts in the 20th century in order to better define its purpose vis a vis the changing administrations and charters. The present day Department of Education was eventually mandated through Republic Act 9155, otherwise known as the Governance of Basic Education act of 2001 which establishes the mandate of this agency.

The Department of Education (DepEd) formulates, implements, and coordinates policies, plans, programs and projects in the areas of formal and non-formal basic education. It supervises all elementary and secondary education institutions, including alternative learning systems, both public and private; and provides for the establishment and maintenance of a complete, adequate, and integrated system of basic education relevant to the goals of national development. Read More

Republic of the Philippines – Office of the President – Commission on Higher Education

The Commission on Higher Education, abbreviated as CHED, is attached to the Office of the President for administrative purposes. It covers both public and private higher education institutions as well as degree-granting programs in all post-secondary educational institutions in the country.

The CHED was established on May 18, 1994 through Republic Act No. 7722 or the Higher Education Act of 1994 which was authored by Senator Francisco.

The creation of CHED was part of a broad agenda for reforms in the country’s education system, outlined by the Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM) in 1992. Part of the reforms is the tri-focalization of the education sector. The three governing bodies in the education sector are the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) for tertiary and graduate education, the Department of Education (DepEd) for basic education, and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) for technical-vocational and middle level education. Read More

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