Access to Education
Decades of conflict and under-investment in Iraq have destroyed what used to be the best education system in the region and severely curtailed Iraqi children’s access to quality learning. Today, there are close 3.2 million school-aged Iraqi children out of school.
The situation is especially concerning in conflict affected governorates, such as Salah al-Din and Diyala, where more than 90% of school-age children are left out of the education system. Almost half of all school-age displaced children — approximately 355,000 children – are not in school. The situation is worse for girls, who are under-represented in both primary and secondary schools.
Out of school children are more vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, including child labour, recruitment by armed actors and early marriage.
Children and teachers have experienced the trauma of conflict, displacement and the losses of loved ones. Such trauma has long-lasting psychological impact which may affect teaching and learning processes and abilities.
Iraq’s infrastructure is in ruins in many parts of the country; one in every two schools is damaged and needs rehabilitation. A number of schools operate in multiple shifts in an attempt to accommodate as many students as possible, squeezing the little learning time that children have
Evidence shows there are significant differences in the success rates of the primary education certificate exam by type ofschools and whether the school runs multiple shifts. The pass rate of students attending the morning shift is 92%, as compared to a 72% passing rate for the evening shift.
Moreover, recent growth in the total number of teachers, the number and share of qualified teachers in Iraq has decreased at all educational levels, with the exception of pre-school.
Investment in Education
As of 2016, Iraq’s national budget allocated less than 6% of its national budget to the education sector, placing Iraq at the bottom rank of Middle East countries.
Years of conflict have weakened the capacity of the Iraqi government to deliver quality education services for all. Violence, damage to infrastructure and mass displacement of children and families have disrupted the provision of education services.
The Government of Iraq has given priority to the decentralisation of service delivery, including education. The capacity of education departments at the governorate level need to be boosted in order for them to oversee the implementation of education policies and plans, the recruitment and management of human resources, the supervision of schools, and the management of educational infrastructure.