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L. Paul Bremer
Coalition Provisional Authority
Ministry of Education
April 3, 2004

As we look to the construction of Iraq’s future of hope, no ministry, no part of the government is more important than the Ministry of Education.

The fate of the Land between the Two Rivers rests in the hands of those you educate today. They are standing here before us. Their parents and their religious leaders form their character and their faith, but you teach them the wonders of the world. Ever since liberation freed you of the distasteful task of glorifying the president, you can turn your full attention to that great responsibility.

Fortunately, you will be able to do this in a free and democratic country where individual rights are respected and no individual can assume the kind of power held by Saddam Hussein.

On June 30, you and all Iraqis will once again be sovereign. Your Transitional Administrative Law is the path that leads you to that great day and then to elections, a constitution and to a directly elected constitutional government.

Written by a diverse group of Iraqis, the Transitional Administrative Law defines the nature of Iraq’s government between June 30, when you are once again sovereign, and December 2005, when you will have an elected constitutional government.

That law provides strong guarantees of individual liberties for every Iraqi, measures to assure that every part of the country shares the nation’s wealth and has a voice in the country’s affairs. It also provides for four elections between June 30 and December 31.

In the new and free Iraq education will no longer suffer as it did under Saddam Hussein’s tyranny. The Coalition began to work on education almost immediately. Last summer, in the days before the Governing Council had turned to Dr. Alwan as minister, we in the Coalition had committed ourselves to:
• Rehabilitate one thousand schools.
• Provide new science and math textbooks for elementary school children.
• Provide over one million Iraqi children with school supplies.

The Coalition met and exceeded all those commitments. We have rehabilitated 2500 schools and continue to work; the United States has provided almost 80 million school books and we have distributed nearly five million kits containing school supplies. Teacher salaries now average $120 a month and entry-level salaries have gone from $5 to $66 monthly.

When Dr. Ala’din Alwan was appointed in September, the Ministry of Education moved immediately and successfully to reestablish the nation’s educational sense of purpose. Dr. Alwan, you understood that the staff at this ministry, perhaps more than any other, needed little more than means, information and encouragement to do their job.

Since September the Ministry of Education has reorganized itself and refocused on central priorities and the children of Iraq, including those before us today, are better for it.

Now is the time to celebrate the success of the Ministry of Education. Long ago the Ministry of Education met the basic challenges of focus and leadership—getting short and long-term strategies in place with structure and staffing to support them.

Training needs been recognized and, where necessary, training programs have begun. Fundamental management systems such as, communications, personnel policies, financial and budgetary controls are in place in this ministry now.

But beyond that, this Ministry has accomplished great things. To cite just three:
• You have trained over 32,000 secondary school teachers and 3,000 supervisors in effective instructional delivery and classroom management strategies.
• You have engaged all sectors of Iraq’s citizenry in the critical discussions that will determine the structures and direction of education in Iraq.
• You have certified over 800 master trainers for the Ministry Training Institute.

Dr. Alwan, I congratulate you and your staff on these extraordinary accomplishments. Your partnership with our Senior Advisor Leslye Arsht and her colleagues over the past seven months has been exemplary.

Mr. Minister, you know the countries of the Coalition will remain available to help with advice, money and assistance. The United States will provide some $88 million in education support and school rehabilitation in the coming months alone.

The United States and the Coalition will stay engaged in Iraq after June 30 to take the steps necessary for a free and democratic Iraq.

So, congratulations, Mr. Minister, to you and the members of the Ministry of Education for reaching this milestone on the road to sovereignty.

Mabruk al Iraq al Jadeed.
Aash al-Iraq!


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