Children returning from Syria learn to read and write in Albanian

 In a small classroom with a few school desks, five girls and two boys returned from Syria to Kosovo in April, learned the first Albanian letters.

Although they had not met each other while in the war zones, the school brought the seven children together in Kosovo.

Their ages range from nine to 14 years old, and since they are of different ages, they cannot be sent to the relevant classes, so it has been three months since they have taught in a classroom separate from other students.

They stay in class for three and a half hours each day.

Out of the seven students, only one had been at school before his family went to Syria and took him away, according Radio Free Europe.

Returning to the school desks, for them, was a dream, says the teacher, whose name is known to the newsroom but cannot be published, in order not to make the identity of the children and the school public.

“In the beginning, not to say when I went to school, but only in the schoolyard, it seemed like a dream, I'm not telling myself, but what my children have told me. I have seen in them, that very desire to have a friend, to have the love of the teacher,” says the teacher.

He has shown that from the beginning, children have expressed a desire to learn as much as possible.

The teacher who taught the children the Albanian alphabet tells Radio Free Europe that they only knew how to communicate, but not how to write and read Albanian.

“There were no probblems about speaking Albanian, they had trouble writing and reading, as they had no knowledge of letters, of the alphabet, of learning Albanian, but only of hearing parents speaking Albanian in places where they have been. They only learned to communicate, but otherwise had no knowledge of the lesson. We started with concrete, from scratch with them, learning the letters,”  says the teacher, who has conducted intensive lessons with these children.

He points out that this is the last week that these students are teaching in this class, as they will, together with the Ministry of Education, look to see if these children are really ready to continue in the class they belong to.

But there is a risk that these children will be prejudiced and rejected in society, says Rinor Qehaja, director of the EdGuard Institute for Education Studies.

According to him, their involvement begins with the elimination of any prejudice from the school community.

“Prejudice arises whether these children are labeled as returnees or dangerous - this should be eliminated and their return to school desks should be as natural as possible, first of all, providing comfort and safety for returning children and their surroundings in the class and school,” says Qehaja.

Qehaja says children of families returning from Syria are a concern that requires institutional solutions and support.

"The Education MInistrz should structure their inclusion in the system always ensuring equal inclusion in education - any kind of segregation will unduly affect the deterioration of children's adaptation from the return," says Qehaja.

110 people returned from Syria to Kosovo in April this year, including four foreign fighters, 32 women and 74 children.

Of these children, ten belong to the kindergarten level, five to preschool, 25 to primary and 34 to upper secondary and tertiary education.
Children returning from Syria learn to read and write in Albanian Children returning from Syria learn to read and write in Albanian Wednesday, November 27, 2019 Rating: 5
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