Iraq adopts standards to improve children’s learning environments
Baghdad, 8 July 2013 – The Government of Iraq today, with the support of UNICEF and the European Union, has adopted a set of standards to ensure that primary schools across the country become ideal learning environments for children. These standards are developed as part of a larger programme, worth 17 million Euros, supported by the European Union to improve the quality of and access to primary education across Iraq.
"These standards are critical to ensure that all primary school age children will have the best educational and learning experience possible in the months and years ahead,” said Dr. Mohammed Ali Tamim, the Minister of Education.
The standards cover five broad areas of school improvement: school environment; school management; capacity building of teachers; community involvement in supporting education; and inclusiveness and participation. A strategic school development component and a self-monitoring mechanism are also integrated into the standards.
“Adopting and universalizing these standards are a major victory for the around 9 million Iraqi children who, every year, are of the age to go to primary school,” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq. “As each school, one by one, applies these standards across the country, the quality of education for every child will be greatly enriched.”
While the primary school enrolment rate in Iraq is high with 9 out of 10 children enrolling in primary school at the correct age, less than half of them complete primary school at the correct age. Every year around 450,000 children in Iraq will either drop out of school or not complete on time.
“The adoption of these standards will make schools more engaging and attractive for children, which will help to ensure they enrol and stay in school,” said Ms. Jana Hybaskova, the Ambassador of the European Union to Iraq. “The European Union is proud to have supported the development of these standards, which will help secure Iraq’s future development and prosperity.”
The standards are part of ‘Child Friendly School’ global approach and model that aims to improve children’s learning achievements as well as their general health, social and emotional well-being.
To date, over 750 schools across Iraq are applying the ‘Child Friendly School’ model, with another 450 joining by the end of 2014. Nearly 8,000 teachers and education staff have been trained on the principles of Child Friendly Schools with 50 Teacher Resource Centres established in Iraq's 18 governorates.
The ‘Child Friendly School’ model was initiated by UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in 2011 with funding from the European Union.
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