Through Education, Iraqi Children Aspire Towards a Better Future

"School is not only about studying, it’s also fun!”.

Laila Ali & Anmar Rfaat
Students are standing with a happy face in front of the their school
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar
13 May 2019

Even though the conflict has ended, an estimated 2.5 million children in Iraq are not in school. Adolescents and girls are particularly affected by economic, physical, psychological, cultural barriers to accessing education.

Public schools are often in poor conditions and the classrooms are overcrowded. One in 2 schools needs rehabilitation and one-third of schools run multiple shifts which negatively affects children’s learning, as they have less contact time with teachers.

Despite the violence they have endured and the gaps in the education system, children across Iraq remain hopeful, they are eager to learn and aspire towards a better future.

UNICEF spoke to children in Baghdad and Mosul regarding their thoughts on education; here is what they had to say. 


I would like to become an engineer. I get really upset when I see children who are not in school.

Abbas, 9, Baghadad, Iraq
Abbas is sitting in the classroom
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar
Aysha sitting in the classroom
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar

After the war, a lot of children stopped going to school.  This is not good for their future, but I think it is not their choice.

Aisha, 11,Mosul.

School is not only about studying, it’s also fun!”.

Adam, 7, Baghdad, Iraq
Adam is standing in the garden
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar
Fatin is standing in front of a colorful wall
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar

My parents support me so I can go to school. They’ve made me love education.


Fatin, 10, Baghdad, Iraq.

Many children don’t attend school because they have to work to support their families.

Rayaheen, 10, Mosul
Rahyenin sitting in the classroom
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar
Hala is sitting in the classroom
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar

School is like our home and my friends are like my sisters. We like our teachers because they love us and do not hurt us.


Hala, 11, Mosul, Iraq.

My cousin does not attend school. I wish that she could join us,”.

Du’aa, 11, Mosul, Iraq.
Children are sitting in the exam
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Iman
Tabarak is sitting in the reading class.
UNICEF Iraq/2019/Anmar

School helped us to forget what happened during the war,”.

Tabarak, 11, Mosul, Iraq.

UNICEF is calling for immediate and long-term investments in education, so that all children in Iraq can aspire to a better tomorrow, regardless of their economic background or gender.

Investment in education and skills development for children and young people will help meet today’s immediate needs and contribute to Iraq’s long-term stability and prosperity.