From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
For entities in Iraq see Category:Iraq
Partners situated in Iraq
Iraq in a nutshell
Iraq, officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert.
Iraq shares borders with Jordan to the west, Syria to the northwest, Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to the south. Iraq has a narrow section of coastline measuring 58 km (35 miles) between Umm Qasr and Al Faw on the Persian Gulf. The capital city, Baghdad, is in the center-east of the country.
Two major flowing rivers: the Tigris and Euphrates run through the centre of Iraq from north to south. These provide Iraq with agriculturally capable land and contrast with the steppe and desert landscape that covers most of Western Asia.
Historically, Iraq was known in Europe by the Greek exonym 'Mesopotamia' (Land between the rivers); after the foundation of the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932, it became known by its ancient endonym 'Iraq'. Iraq has been home to continuous successive civilizations since the 6th millennium BC. The region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers is identified as the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of writing and the wheel.
Throughout its long history, Iraq has been the center of the Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid and Abbasid empires, and part of the Achaemenid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Mongol, Ottoman and British empires.
Beginning with the invasion in 2003, a multinational coalition of forces, mainly American and British, occupied Iraq.
The occupation ended when sovereignty was transferred to the Iraqi Interim Government June 2004. A new Constitution of Iraq has since been approved by referendum and a new Government of Iraq has been elected. Some dispute whether Iraq is de facto sovereign (see Iraqi sovereignty, United States-Iraq relations).
In 2008, the Failed States Index, Iraq was the world's fifth most politically unstable country. Iraq is developing a parliamentary democracy composed of 18 governorates (known as muhafadhat).
Iraq education policy
Education in Iraq is administered by the Ministry of Education.
UNESCO reports that prior to the first Gulf War in 1991 Iraq had one of the best educational performances in the region. Primary school Gross Enrollment Rate was 100% and literacy levels were high. Since that time education has suffered as a result of war, sanctions, and instability.
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:
The Decline Years: 1984-1989 The 1980s brought about the war with Iran, which in turn led to a diversion of public resources towards military spending. Naturally, this resulted in a steep decline in overall social spending. With this, the education budget suffered from a deficit, which continued to grow as the years passed. There was also no strategic plan in place to address these issues at the time.
The Crisis Years: 1990-2003 Moreover, the 1990s brought about the first Gulf War and economic sanctions, which caused Iraq’s educational institutions to debilitate further. Some of the outcomes of the weakening system included but are not limited to:
Iraq education system
It is generally agreed upon that before 1990, the educational system in Iraq was one of the best in the region in addressing both access and equality. However, the situation began to deteriorate rapidly due to several wars and economic sanctions. According to UNESCO’s 2003 Situation Analysis of education in Iraq, the educational system in the Centre/South worsened despite the provision of basics through the Oil for Food Programme. Northern Iraq did not suffer as much due to rehabilitation and reconstruction programs organized through several UN agencies.
Since then, major problems have emerged that are hindering the system, and include: lack of resources, politicization of the educational system, uneven emigration and internal displacement of teachers and students, security threats, and corruption. Illiteracy is widespread in comparison with before, standing at 39% for the rural population. Almost 22% of the adult population in Iraq has never attended school, and a mere 9% have secondary school as highest level completed. As far as gender equity, 47% of women in Iraq are either fully or partly illiterate, as women’s education suffers from differences across regions, and especially between the North and South.
Since the 2003 invasion and the fall of the former dictatorial regime [Saddam Hussein], Iraqis with the help of international agencies and foreign governments, have been attempting to create frameworks that would begin to address the issues at hand.
According to the National Development Strategy of Iraq, published on June 30, 2005, the new vision for Iraq intends to: “Transform Iraq into a peaceful, unified federal democracy and a prosperous, market oriented regional economic powerhouse that is fully integrated into the global economy”. This stems from the fact that the country’s economy has been mismanaged for 40 years, and a country that once held a bright private sector and educated population has come to have one of the lowest human development indicators in the region.
The National Development Strategy [NDS] contains four major areas of concentration:
The major pillar above that includes the category of education is that of “Improving quality of life”, as ‘healthy citizens tend to be productive citizens that will be able to take advantage of the opportunities provided in a market-oriented economy’. The exact strategy towards education includes ‘investing in human capital with a focus on adult literacy, vocational training and actions to reduce drop-out rates at the primary level’ .
Schools in Iraq
Education after the 2003 invasion
Following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority, with substantial international assistance, undertook a complete reform of Iraq’s education system. Among immediate goals were the removal of previously pervasive Baathist ideology from curricula and substantial increases in teacher salaries and training programs, which the Hussein regime neglected in the 1990s. The new Ministry of Education appointed a national curriculum commission to revise curricula in all subject areas. Because of under-funding by the Hussein regime, in 2003 an estimated 80 percent of Iraq’s 15,000 school buildings needed rehabilitation and lacked basic sanitary facilities, and most schools lacked libraries and laboratories.
In the 1990s, school attendance decreased drastically as education funding was cut and economic conditions forced children into the workforce. After the regime change, the system included about 6 million students in kindergarten through twelfth grade and 300,000 teachers and administrators. Education is mandatory only through the sixth grade, after which a national examination determines the possibility of continuing into the upper grades. Although a vocational track is available to those who do not pass the exam, few students elect that option because of its poor quality. Boys and girls generally attend separate schools beginning with seventh grade. In 2005 obstacles to further reform were poor security conditions in many areas, a centralized system that lacked accountability for teachers and administrators, and the isolation in which the system functioned for the previous 30 years. Few private schools exist. (One notable example: The Classical School of the Medes in Northern Iraq.) Prior to the occupation of 2003, some 240,000 persons were enrolled in institutions of higher education. The CIA World Factbook estimates that in 2000 the adult literacy rate was 84 percent for males and 64 percent for females, with UN figures suggesting a small fall in literacy of Iraqis aged 15–24 between 2000 and 2008, from 84.8% to 82.4%.
Universities in Iraq
Polytechnics in Iraq
The Bologna Process
Administration and finance
Towards the information society
Information society strategy
Virtual Campuses in HE
Interesting Virtual Campus Initiatives