Education is the main, real engine and the seed of light that if it is found in a society in a real way, it will elevate it to high levels of development and success.
The strength of any society lies in its educated and scholarly members. The strength of society’s capabilities increases as the level of illiteracy in it decreases.
As for Iraq, the matter has become unfortunately the opposite, at a time when the countries of the world are competing with various orientations to develop education and raise it to the highest levels, this important sector in Iraq has witnessed for two and a half decades a marked decline and deterioration due to the wars and conflicts that have been going on for long periods.
History of education in Iraq:
The education system was established in Iraq in 1921. it included all public and private tracks.
In the 1960s, textbooks were distributed free of charge to primary students, 60% of secondary school books were distributed free of charge to poor students, and books were sold to others at cost rates. In the early seventies, education became public and free at all levels and compulsory at the primary level.
Education in Iraq is organized by two ministries: the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHSR), as the Ministry of Education is responsible for kindergarten, primary, secondary and vocational education, while the Ministry of Higher Education is responsible for higher education and research centers.
* The Golden Years: 1970-1984
* The education system in Iraq was one of the best in the region during this period of time , and was praised by its organizations and systems. By 1984, great achievements had been made, which include, but are not limited to: –
Overall enrollment rates rise by more than 100%
• Gender parity in nearly full enrollment rates
The illiteracy rate between the ages of 15-45 decreased to less than 10%
• Expenditure in the field of education has reached 6% of the gross national product and 20% of the total Iraqi government budget
• The average government spending on education per student was $ 620
As for the period from 1984-1989:
The second half of the 1980s witnessed a decline in education spending resulting from the war with Iran, which in turn diverted much of the public resource towards military spending.
Of course, this has resulted in a sharp decline in public social spending. Nevertheless, the education budget suffered from a deficit, which continued to grow with the passage of years, due to the consequences that the continuous wars led to.
Moreover, the 1990s resulting from the first Gulf War and the economic sanctions that lasted for 13 years caused the educational institutions in Iraq to weaken. Some of the consequences of the economic blockade weaken the system included, but are not limited to, the following:
The share of education in the gross national product has almost halved, resting at 3.3% in 2003
• The total income decreased, as the resources allocated to education decreased
• The share of education has decreased to only 8% of the total government budget
• Government spending on education per student has decreased from $ 620 in the “golden years” to $ 47
Teacher salaries have decreased
The educational system in Iraq was generally agreed upon that before 1990, it was one of the best in the region, but the situation began to deteriorate rapidly due to several wars and economic sanctions imposed on Iraq, and despite the provision of the basics through the oil-for-food program .. However, the state of education and the educational system continued to suffer throughout that period, and as for northern Iraq, it did not suffer as much as the rest of Iraq because of the rehabilitation and reconstruction programs organized by the United Nations and several agencies.
Since 2003, the main problems hindering the system have emerged, including: lack of resources, politicization of the educational system, immigration and internal displacement of teachers and students, security threats, and corruption. Illiteracy is on a large scale compared to before, as the illiteracy rate is 39% for the rural population, approximately 22% of the adult population in Iraq has not enrolled in school, 9% of secondary schools, and the level of equality in education between both genders has decreased.
Loss of strategy
Many believe that Iraq does not have any clear strategy for developing the educational sector and advancing it during the coming period, as it has not completed more than 400 school buildings only in 15 years, according to government statistics.
Specialists say that the slow achievement in this way has led to the decline of the education sector to its lowest levels, as the Parliamentary Education Committee revealed that Iraq needs 7,000 school buildings to end the crisis completely.
The most important problems developed by specialists in this matter can be summarized as follows:
There is currently no adequate number of schools, and most schools are in poor conditions.
• About 70% of schools lack clean water and toilets
Around 1,000 schools are built of mud, straw, or tents
• Poor quality of inputs, including: science laboratories, libraries, equipment, outdated curricula, lack of teacher training, staff absenteeism, and the widespread phenomenon of private tutoring that takes away from the public system.
Security and its effects:
Since 2003 and the fall of the previous government, destabilization of the war and the increase in the frequency of sectarian conflict, all this has affected the education system. Schools have been severely damaged, as 2,751 schools require rehabilitation and 2,400 schools have witnessed acts of looting and sabotage. A number of schools in dangerous areas were forced to close for long periods.
Education personnel have also been targeted, including kidnappings, murders and assassinations.
The rate of absenteeism among teachers and students, especially girls, has also increased due to the dangerous security situation.
Unstable security events continued in the country, leading to ISIS’s control over large parts of Iraq, and of course, the educational process in those areas was halted and a large number of schools, universities and scientific facilities were destroyed.
And it seems that the political parties and their affiliations in the country have made their last concerns about developing education in the country or laying certain foundations for the advancement and improvement of the educational process,
In conclusion, is it possible to revive the educational sector in the country in light of the conditions in which we are currently living and under the control of the parties and their control over the country’s capabilities ??
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