The report is an outcome of a collaborative enquiry undertaken by the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education team, and Syrian co-researchers who previously worked in Syrian universities and are currently displaced to Turkey.

Interviews about the state and conditions of Syrian Higher Education before 2011 were carried out with 19 Syrian academics living in exile in Turkey and 48 university staff and students still working or studying inside Syria, the latter carried out remotely by the Syrian co-researchers.

The report, available to download in English and Arabic, provides a review and mapping of higher education in Syria and explores topics such as reform, mission and governance, teaching and research, and student admission and progression.



A lifeline to academics at risk since 1933, Cara (the Council for At-Risk Academics) was set up in 1933 by academics and scientists in the UK as a rescue mission in response to the Nazi regime’s decision to expel many of Germany’s leading academics from their posts, on racial and political grounds.

Cara’s founders defined their task as 'the relief of suffering and the defence of learning and science'; and between 1933 and 1939 they helped some 2000 people to safety, with their families. Many of those helped then went on to achieve great things, including winning sixteen Nobel Prizes; their skills and knowledge helped to transform many areas of intellectual life in the UK.

Eighty-five years on Cara is a global leader in its field; working to help academics from all around the world who fear for their freedom, their safety, even their lives. It enjoys the strong support of some 120 universities in the UK and a growing number abroad who are hosting ‘Cara Fellows’ - academics who have been forced into exile, with their families - until, as most of them hope, they can one day return home. In addition, Cara’s regional programmes provide innovative and effective support to academics who are working on in their country despite the risks, or who have been forced into exile nearby. The most recent, Cara’s Syria Programme, is so far the only international programme to focus on supporting and developing Syrian academics in exile in the region around Syria, with some 200 individuals likely to be engaged in programme activities in 2019. 

University of Cambridge - Faculty of Education

The Education Reform and Innovation (ERI) team consists of academic researchers and teaching practitioners based at the University of Cambridge Faculty of Education. The team specialises in research-informed systemic education reform that consists of development, research, monitoring and evaluation.

ERI has established itself by harnessing practical field experience alongside research, monitoring and evaluation. As the University of Cambridge has established its research and development internationally, ERI has found the opportunity to apply its own knowledge and skills to assist institutions in reshaping education provision.