Rojava’s revolutionary university

Issue 
Rojava University was established in Qamishlo in the Cizire region of Rojava in July, 2016.

Rojava University, one of the greatest achievements of the July 19 Rojava Revolution, was established in Qamishlo in 2016. It began providing academic services with modest resources.

The university now forms the basis of an educational institution providing opportunities in the academic and the administrative world and is establishing academic and scientific relations with other international institutions.

Aside from teaching and learning, the university carries out research, generates resources and initiates projects to improve and advance the education system.

About 250 students enrolled at the university in its first year, but enrolments reached 720 in 2018.

It has eight faculties — Medicine, Petroleum Engineering, Petrochemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Education, Agriculture, Languages and Social Sciences and plans to establish a Faculty of Law and Faculty of Theology. It also incorporates the Mechatronics High School and the School of Finance and Management Sciences.

Rojava University’s education system is different from universities in Syria and the rest of the Middle East. It has a co-chair system in its faculties. The languages used are Kurdish and Arabic.

The university’s leadership is working to create a suitable environment for education. Laboratory studies have increased and emphasis is put on scientific research. The most important problems faced by the administration are financial and logistical.

Its mission is to build a democratic, free society and to establish strong relationships between teachers and students. Decisions regarding university administration are taken by the University Executive Council, the University Council, the Women's Council and the Student Council.

The university's evaluation system has changed over the years. Many methods have been tried and the most suitable chosen.

However, Rojava University is unique. Student participation in collective work, creativity and activism is a key part of assessment, and failure to meet the required rate of attendance will result in a student’s failure. Grades averages are determined for research, homework, experiments, science lessons, projects and writing experience.

This year, university preparatory classes have been added. Students admitted to the university attend these courses in their first year. The next year, they begin to decide their main courses.

According to the university’s Board of Directors, a "coding and exchange" agreement was reached with the University of California in the middle of last year. The same arrangement was made with the University of Parma in Italy.

A group from the university is trying to connect with universities in the United States and connects with Kurdish academics around the world through online meetings. This group has also developed a joint program for coordination and collaboration in areas such as scientific research, publishing and workshops.

The board’s latest project supports the step the university took on July 19 to welcome more than 100 academics from Australia, Brazil, Italy, France, England, Canada and Albania. “The academics who visited us showed their support to our institutions,” said the board.

“Some of them agreed to participate in the university’s academic board as guest members, to give seminars, check Masters Theses, buy books and provide financial support.”

The university's efforts to get in touch with other leading international universities are ongoing. Among these are the universities of Dresden in Germany and Washington in the US.

Student accommodation is provided, with priority given to students from outside Qamishlo. Food expenses are covered by the university. Scholarships are given to students from Afrin, Serêkaniyê and Girê Spî.

The university administration aims to increase student scholarships and is building a new student dormitory.

Working in coordination with Rojava’s autonomous administration (AANES) institutions, the university is developing projects to offer job opportunities to graduating students.

So far, 223 students have graduated and 1460 students continue their education. University enrolments began on August 25 and about 850 students are likely be admitted to the university this year.

[Abridged from ANF English.]

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