Monday, May 09, 2005


Lower education in Iraq

The International Leadership Institute (ILI), a part of the United Nations University, has issued a report finding that 84% of Iraqi institutes of higher learning have been destroyed and 48 professors assassinated.

According to Aljazeera,

There are 20 universities in Iraq, in addition to 47 technical institutes and 10 private institutes offering courses in information technology, administration and economy, the study said.

As a result, the UN is urging international donors to mobilize millions of dollars in aid for Iraq's colleges and universities warning that failure to rehabilitate them will set back efforts to heal the war-torn country.

According to the study, only 40 percent of infrastructure destroyed now is being rebuilt, the study said, and water and electricity supplies remain unreliable. raqi higher education's teaching staff also has been depleted by more than a decade of international sanctions, imposed in 1990 after Iraq invaded Kuwait, and by persistent security threats against academics and institutions.

As many as four out of 10 of Iraq's best-trained educators have fled for other countries since 1990, leaving behind faculty whom the report described as "long-isolated and under-qualified." One-third of remaining professors hold only a bachelor's degree, despite rules requiring a master's degree; 39 percent have a master's degree and 28 percent, a doctorate, the study said.

But why worry about the universities?
Iraq's primary and secondary education systems also have been ruined, according to the U.N. children's fund, UNICEF.

In a report released last October, the agency said that school attendance had increased as students, parents, and teachers began to take in stride frequent reports of bombings, attacks, and kidnappings but that the school system--once one of the finest in the Middle East--was overwhelmed.

There weren't enough desks, chairs, or classrooms and most schools lacked even basic water or sanitation facilities, it said, adding that millions of Iraqi students had to brave raw sewage to get into and around their schools.

UNICEF attributed the school system's fall to three wars and more than a decade of neglect and insufficient funding during sanctions, which remained in effect from 1990-2003.

U.S. officials often have highlighted their renovation of schools as a success story of Iraq under occupation. The UNICEF report said that as of last October, some 18 months after the U.S.-led invasion, the rehabilitation was limited.

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