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VI. Improve Quality and Access to Education

Build the capacity of the Ministry of Education, rehabilitate schools, continue the national dialogue on curriculum reform, and train teachers.

Saddam’s Legacy

The education system in Iraq was highly regarded and high performing, and in 1980 had achieved nearly universal primary enrollment. In the early 1980s, public funds began to be siphoned off for military expenditures and other priorities of the ruling regime. Combined with the politicization of the education system, which influenced everything from curriculum, teaching, staff, and admission policies, the system went into a steady decline. The looting that followed liberation compounded thirty years of neglect. There are 15,000 school buildings in Iraq and 10,000 of them need repair.

Education in Liberated Iraq

Despite the problems of the previous regime, the education system in Iraq has improved since liberation. Most schools were open very soon after liberation and the highly-valued national exams were given in June (had they not been given, Iraqi students would have lost an entire academic year). Attendance in academic year 2003-2004 is as high or higher than pre-conflict days. The CPA and a multitude of civilian agencies, military units, and international agencies have coordinated work with the Ministry of Education to train more than 33,000 secondary teachers in modern classroom management and instructional delivery and rehabilitate over 2,000 schools. The Ministry has been reorganized and re-staffed and teachers have received substantial pay raises.

The Ministry of Education, the CPA, and Other International Partner Activities to Improve the Education Sector

Partners will focus on activities that will:

·        Reach universal access to quality education and eliminate disparities between boys and girls, regional and rural/urban disparities, and ethnic and socio-economic differences.

·        Upgrade quality to compete at the international level and increase relevance to local needs, labor market, and sustainable development.

·        Depoliticize education and ensure the independence of education; promote human rights, freedom of thought and expression, tolerance, and national unity.

·        Strengthen community involvement in planning, executing, and evaluating the education system.

·        Change to evidence-based planning, performance-driven evaluation, and decentralized management. Overcome corruption.

For further information contact:

Leslye Arsht, Senior Advisor, Ministry of Education,

Or see:
Education in Iraq: Current Situation and New Perspectives
Dr. Ala’din A.S. Alwan, Minister of Education
January 2004
A report on the situation today and the Ministry’s strategies for the immediate future, this document provides a brief description on the current status of education in Iraq, including the structural, functional, and pedagogical aspects; it identifies major constraints and outlines the main priorities for reconstruction. It assesses current trends and establishes a baseline for rehabilitation efforts. Options, areas for improvement, and strategies for addressing the challenges encountered are presented and the proposed features of the future education system are outlined.

Partner Links:

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