A new university based on an alternative education model will open in Rojava, according to a report from ANHA carried by Özgür Gündem. The university – the Mesopotamian Social Sciences Academy – will be located in Qamişlo in the Cizîrê Canton of Rojava and begin to hold classes this September.
A First For Rojava
The university will be the first to open since the beginning of the Rojava Revolution. A group of academics including historians, sociologists, legal scholars, political scientists and linguistics decided to open a university following a year of preparatory work. The name was only chosen at the end of June and the decision was taken to use the word ‘academy’ instead of univeristy.
The academy consists of three departments. The first work began around the law department but was soon followed by the sociology and history departments. Today these three departments have 20 faculty members. The director of the Mesopotamian Social Sciences Academy, Rêşan Şakir, spoke to ANHA about the founding of the university, as well as its goals and mission.
Şakir began by explaining how in the course of the many new developments emerging from the revolutionary process they saw the need for more work in the area of knowledge that could also function to meet social needs. Şakir listed as one of its goals to help in breaking away from a 5 thousand year mentality around education, saying “we are aiming at forming an alternative education system to the educational systems formed by the forces of power and hegemony. As our principal goal we hope to build the foundation of an educational system based on the Democratic Nation model that is the model for democracy for the Kurdish people in the 21st Century. In this way we want to build an institutional structure that can help serve in producing moral and political social understanding. We aim for everyone involved and in particular students to be creative and subjective participants.”
We Want To Create A Framework
Şakir went on to say that while there are only three departments now he thinks that the work of the academy could expand in the future, saying “we hope to bring together all the academic work being done in the region under one framework and to increase our impact in this manner. In this framework we are aiming to open philosophy, literature, geography, political sciences, economics and communications departments.”
Curriculum Taking Final Form
For now, Şakir explains, the majority of the students are from the Cizîre region but stressed that in the future plans were to take students from all three cantons of Rojava and the entirety of Syria. He added that students would also be trained as teachers. While the academy already has a curriculum work is continuing to put it in final form. Education in the university will be conducted in Arabic and Kurdish.
Courses Begin In September
Classrooms, a library, dormitory, sports facilities and a cafeteria have already been prepared for the students. Internet and computer access is also available. Around 60 students have already registered since June and this number is expected to grow. Classes will begin following an opening ceremony in September.