Syrian School

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[edit] General Information

Culture Documentary hosted by Khalid Abdalla, published by BBC in 2010 - English narration

[edit] Cover

Image: Syrian-School-Cover.jpg

[edit] Information

Five-part series following a year in the life of four schools in Damascus, a high pressure crossroads in the Middle East. It concentrates on some remarkable characters finding their way in a country that has never before opened ordinary life up to the cameras in this way, challenges the usual cliches of Arab life and charts the highs and lows of the school year.

[edit] Changing Schools

Mrs Amal Hassan is the larger-than-life headteacher of Zaki Al Arsouzi Girls' School, intent on teaching her girls to stick up for themselves and 'be free'. She has a new girl at school, Dua'a, who comes from a devout Muslim family. Until now Dua'a has been educated at a conservative Islamic school, but this term she has moved to the more liberal Zaki Al-Arsouzi School. How will she get on with the big ideas of her new headteacher? Across town at Jaramana Boys' School, Yusif is football mad. He's an Iraqi refugee who lived through the bombs of Baghdad. Now, in the relative calm of Syria, he must start to overcome his deep-seated fear of loud bangs.

[edit] Rap Refugees

Yarmouk Girls' Secondary School sits in the heart of a Palestinian refugee camp that has sat on the southern edge of the city for over sixty years. Nearly all its students are Palestinian, coming of age in a society obsessed with its Palestinian identity and right to return to its homeland. Two schoolgirls are breaking the mould. Shaza and Rahaf dream of serving the Palestinian cause though rap music, but their plans put them on a collision course with their parents and traditionalist head teacher as they try to bring their radical rap into the classroom.

[edit] Being Inspired

As a teenage girl it isn't easy to find ways to express yourself in Syria, but there's one outlet that is releasing a wave of emotion in Zaki Al-Arsouzi Girls' High School - the poetry society. Under the stimulating teaching of Mr Muhanned the girls can talk freely about their dreams, of love and hope, away from the constraints of wider society. Now they will do it in public, at the school's writers' showcase. Ala hopes her heartfelt love poems, inspired by a failed relationship she struck up by mobile phone, are good enough for the big stage, while a trip to the October War Panorama museum drives Lemiss to write of the love she feels for her country.

[edit] Syria's Got Talent

It's time for the country's nationwide search to find Syria's brightest and best primary school students. Thousands of pupils will battle it out in every conceivable discipline, over three hard-fought rounds of competition to become National Pioneers of the Ba'ath Party - Syria's ruling party. At Al Muleiha Primary School for Boys, head teacher Soha skilfully steers her boys towards the Pioneer final, guiding her most gifted pupils into some of the less competitive disciplines. 11-year-old Imad has his eyes on the prize, for cardboard modelling. And at Jeramana Middle School, Ward has his own challenge. He's a gifted boy who has been picked to represent his country in one of the toughest international chess tournaments in the world - in Beirut.

[edit] Marked for Life

For 40 years, Syria has been dominated by a single party. There's limited political freedom. But here in Damascus life seems to be slowly changing, especially for the next generation. But there is still an immense hurdle for them to cross: the dreaded Baccalaureate Examination. The whole city seems in a state of panic, from teachers to parents and pupils. 17-year-old twin sisters Farah and Rahaf are facing the exams together - success or failure will determine their futures. But their dreams are wildly different. Farah dreams of studying English and exploring the world - inspired by her Satellite TV heroine Nigella Lawson. Rahaf is more anxious - aiming for a more cautious future in engineering. We follow them from revision to results. Meanwhile, Iraqi refugee Yusif is struggling with his education, as all his attention is focused on the visa he hopes to get that will take him away from Syria. His family is desperate to move to Canada - but can they make it out of Damascus? In Damascus, it's exam season. And everyone's future is riding on it.

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[edit] Technical Specs

  • Video Codec: x264 CABAC
  • Video Bitrate: 1400 Kbps
  • Video Resolution: 832x468
  • Video Aspect Ratio: 16:9
  • Audio Codec: AAC
  • Audio Bitrate: 128 Kbps ABR 48KHz
  • Audio Channels: 2
  • Run-Time: 59 mins
  • Framerate: 25FPS
  • Number of Parts: 5
  • Part Size: 645 MB
  • Source: PDTV
  • Encoded by: JungleBoy

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