Iraq, Education, and Children of Conflict

Uploaded on Nov 12, 2008

Due to war and sectarian violence, many Iraqi children have fled their homes and are now living as refugees in neighboring countries or as internally displaced persons in Iraq. These children make up about half of the Iraqi population uprooted from their homes, and there is mounting evidence to suggest that they are receiving little or no education. Please join us as our expert panel discusses the steps necessary to improve the education of Iraqi children.

Literacy and Non-Formal Education in Iraq

Iraq historically has had high literacy rates. A comprehensive literacy campaign in the 1970s and 1980s helped reduce illiteracy to 20 percent in 1987. However, since then, most adult and non-formal education programmes have stopped, and today illiteracy is widespread with almost 30 percent of the rural population unable to read or write. In Iraq, an estimated five million people are illiterate; this includes 14 percent of school age children currently out-of-school as they have no access to suitable schooling or are obliged to contribute to household income. Overall, 22 percent of the adult population has never attended school, and only nine percent of adults have completed secondary education. Significant gender disparities are also a matter of concern with illiteracy rates reaching higher than 47 percent among women in some areas.


Executive Summary

This report contains a situation analysis of girls’ education in Iraq and recommendations for improving girls’ access to good quality schooling. The situation analysis is based on enrolment data provided by the Ministry of Education in Iraq, a range of currently available reports and other documentation, and on the responses of 80 Iraqi girls to a questionnaire relating to their own experiences of school and their views on girls’ education. The picture is incomplete because no data on girls’ attendance or success rates are available and these are crucial to a full situational analysis. In Iraq the overall number of children receiving primary education has declined between 2004-05 and 2007-08 by 88,164, with no improvement in the percentage of girls enrolled. Gross enrolment figures provided for the academic year 2005 – 2005 show 5,163,440 children enrolled in primary education. Girls account for 44.74% of students. Figures for 2007-2008 show 5,065,276 children enrolled in primary education, with 44.8 % being girls. This means that for every 100 boys enrolled in primary schools in Iraq, there are just under 89 girls. 

Education and Science in the Arab World

PECIALISTS in the various fields of pure and applied science in
Iraq ate trained at number of colleges and institutes of Baghdad University, addition, science training is also provided by the science ot the colleges of education Baghdad University, the independent institutes of technology and teacher training. and the
University. For these constitute entire training facilities in the country.
These facili ties have certain distinct characteristics. Until the end of 1962, all were located in Baghdad, the capital, with the exception of a branch College of Medicine in the city of Mosul. Since there was only one college in each specialization. it was natural to locate them all in the capital and chief city of the country. This gave Baghdad a distinct advantage over other major towns. Since 1962, colleges of pure and applied science have begun to be established in the cities of Mostll and Basrah. Baghdad no longer has a monor»ly on higher science education..

An overview of education in Iraq

Iraq established its education system in 1921, offering both public and private paths. In the early 1970s, education became public and free at all levels, and mandatory at the primary level. Two ministries manage the education system in Iraq: the Ministry of Education [MOE] and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research [MOHSR]. The Ministry of Education is in charge of pre-school, primary, secondary, and vocational education, while the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research [MOHSR] is in charge of tertiary education and research centers.

The Golden Years:1970-1984

Iraq’s education system was one of the best in the region during this period of time, and highly praised throughout. By 1984, major accomplishments had been achieved, which include but are not limited to:

• Gross Enrollment Rates rising over 100%

• Almost complete gender parity in enrollment

• Illiteracy among 15-45 age group declined to less than 10%

• Dropout/Repetition rates were the lowest in the Middle East and North Africa [MENA] region

• Spending in Education reached 6% of Gross National Product [GNP] and 20% of Iraq’s total government budget

The average government spending per student for education was ~$620

The Destruction of Iraq’s intellectuals

Istanbul, Turkey - Professor Saad Jawad, a 32 year old veteran political scientist from the University of Baghdad who now lives in London, greets five of his former students with a warm smile. These men are now professors at universities across Iraq, and have not seen their former advisor since he was forced to flee Iraq in 2008. They are members of Iraq's embattled intelligentsia, which has endured nearly 30 years of perpetual violence. "We are carved by suffering and gouged by resignation," one says.

Each professor represents a different side of the intelligentsia's new identity. Yusuf, from the North, wears American shirts over Jordanian pants because "he can't buy much clothing in Iraq with his teaching salary." Abdullah, from the South, smokes three packs of cigarettes in a day. Ahmad, a researcher from the capital, proudly describes his frequent commentary on national television news stations. His colleague, Ibrahim, perpetually masks worry about his friend with a half-hearted smile. Hakim, from Iraqi Kurdistan, sighs uneasily - he is relatively safe in Iraq's northern semiautonomous Kurdish region.

War, State Collapse and thePredicament of Education in Iraq

Educational Evolution, 1920–2003
"When a child starts going to school, the book is a window to the world."

Centralized control over textbook production has a long history in modern Iraq,extending even back to the late Ottoman era. Following the hostile takeoverand international recognition of the British-installed Iraqi state and Hashemite monarchy, a new curriculum emerged. Tis curriculum did not evolve without itsshare o controversy and debate, however. In the 1920s–1930s, Director-General of Education Sati’ al-Husri (1879–1967) resisted international supervision under theauspices o either British advisors or the League of Nations, arguing that any thing produced by such sources would reflect the colonialist outlook of the originnations. Seeing education as playing a key role in inculcating proper views in the youth, al-Husri was eventually able to combine Arabism and Iraqi nationalisminto a coherent curricular vision intended to buttress Hashemite legitimacy.

Iraq Education statistics: Iraq



International Bureau of Education The Development of Education National Report of Iraq 2001

Iraq was the cradle of the first human civilizations. The Sumerian, the Akadian the Assyrian and the Babylonian civilizationsflourished in Iraq. With the advent of Islam and the flourishing of the Arab-Islamic civilization, which reached its peak during the Abbasids, Baghdad became the world center of culture, knowledge and creativity, attracting scholars, men of letter and intellectuals from all over the world.
 Iraq, during the last three decades, has witnessed a general revival in all aspects of life, including the educational system which is favoured with special attention owing to its vital role in the process of cultural growth of the society. The major developments and achievements, which have been realized, constitute one aspect of the giant and numerous accomplishments achieved by the revolution in all aspects of the political, economic, social and cultural sectors. 



Iraq 2006: Where to From Here

Published on Oct 11, 2013

Recorded on April 20, 2006.
Law, Ethics and National Security Conference.
Appearing: Bruce R. Kuniholm, chair ; Stephen Grummon, Nancy Soderberg, Rand Beers, and Zainab Al-Suwaij, speakers