SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: September 01, 2022

Attack Types: Other

Institution(s):Idlib University

Region & Country:Western Asia | Syria

New or Ongoing:New Incident

In September 2022, Idlib University reportedly barred women from admission to the university’s newly established Department of Political Science and Media.

A report by Syria Direct quoted the department’s dean describing a “lack of the necessary infrastructure to allocate a special department for women” as the purported reason behind the prohibition on women’s admission to the department. The university’s president made similar comments to Focus Aleppo.

Idlib University, a public higher education institution, is located within an area controlled by the Syrian Salvation Government (SSG) and Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a political and armed group that is party to the Syrian Civil War. The SSG has ordered gender segregation in education establishments, including higher education institutions.

Women interviewed by Syria Direct and Focus Aleppo described travel to alternative journalistic educational offerings in Syria as prohibitive.

Scholars at Risk is concerned by a higher education institution, ostensibly acting under pressure from de facto governing authorities, restricting women’s admission to a particular program of study, thus restricting their academic freedom and right to education. Higher education officials and de facto governing forces have a responsibility to refrain from such restrictions and should respect and promote academic freedom and the right to education. Efforts to bar students from pursuing academic subjects on the basis of gender undermine academic freedom, the right to education, and democratic society generally.