ABSTRACT

This article examines how Bashar al-Assad's authoritarian regime has used public education to legitimize itself and ground its authority. The Assad regime has always used education as propaganda. Since the start of Syria's civil war, however, the Assad regime has begun to use textbooks to attack its challengers, display its power, and deny accusations of human rights violations. Because they are compulsory readings in most of Syria's schools, and are also freely available on the website of Assad's Ministry of Education, state-sanctioned textbooks reach millions of Syrian citizens and most of the Syrian diaspora. This article investigates the claims to legitimacy in Assad's textbooks and explores how Assad uses education as part of a systematic process of maintaining control of the country, a process that also includes brute force and unforgiving military power.

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