|The Royal Academy of Science International Trust
|at the heart of Science, Education, Economy, Arts & Sustainable Development
|an inspiration of freedom, hope, dignity & self-reliance
|"Tomorrow will be as sweet as Chocolate"
---- Miriam, 8 yrs old refugee - Lebanon
Revitalizing Education and Health in Iraq
Prior to the period of the Gulf War and subsequent economic sanctions, the country had one of the best performing educational and health systems in the
“Iraq’s educational and health institutes are in a dramatic situation,” said Dr Princess Nisreen El-Hashemite. “Some 24 years of conflict and unrest - first with
Iran in the 1980s and then with the Gulf wars and the situation that has followed - have seen tens of thousands of young Iraqis killed, the exodus of many
intellectuals and the virtual isolation of those who remained.
Immediately after the 2003 conflict and subsequent looting led to many institutions being deprived of basic equipment and materials required for a proper
teaching and treatment environment.
The Iraqi people have endured an excess burden of morbidity and mortality, with the March 2003 Anglo-American assault on and subsequent occupation of
Iraq representing the most recent chapter. The general infrastructure of the country was disrupted, with the civilian population and public services bearing
much of the aftermath.
Children have been disproportionately affected; many have died from infectious disease, malnutrition, and lack of access to health care. There have been
significant differences in the availability of narrative accounts and images of this suffering, reflective of the need of those who impose sanctions and wage
wars to keep the public uninformed. The public community and medical practitioners have a responsibility to seek out such accounts and images. RASIT
explores all possible responses to narrative and images of this suffering, and outline the sorts of responses engendered by three perspectives-charity,
development, and social justice. The suffering of the people of Iraq should spur a response from the human well-being and health communities to alleviate
the situation and prevent unnecessary suffering.
The Education system in Iraq, prior to 1991, was one of the best in the region with over 100% Gross Enrolment Rate for primary schooling and high levels of
literacy, both of men and women. The Higher Education, especially the scientific and technological institutions were of an international standard, staffed by
high quality personnel.
While sanctions had removed Iraq from the purview of the human development approach for more than a decade, war and occupation reopened the
examination through the discourse of post-conflict reconstruction.
Most of the education institutions require physical rehabilitation, furniture, equipment and materials for the teaching of science, technology, other practical
subjects, and replenishment of libraries. In-service training for teachers, who had long been cut off from the outside world, including access to international
journals, textbooks as well as internet communications, remains a prerequisite for the introduction of innovative practices and changes into the education
system. Teacher trainers need to be exposed to the nature of active learning, student-centered education, and practice in critical, creative and caring
thinking as a foundation for responsible citizenship.
Although considerable progress has already been made in this renewal process under national leadership, the backlog and gaps to address, in basic needs,
are still enormous.
The UNESCO survey showed that about 40% of Iraqi children were attending school, the enrolment of girls was less than that of boys, which reflects the
impact of economic and social factors as well as physical access to schooling and its quality. There is an acute shortage of teaching-learning materials. Since
textbooks are a key tool of quality education, including home study to follow up the school lessons, the situation needs urgent action, and there should be a
target of one textbook per subject per student.
It is well documented the shortage of accommodation for schools. Few of the buildings were in good condition, the schools are without access to running
water and few had well-functioning sanitation. Power supplies were irregular or lacking: most schools were in fact connected to the grid but lacked the needed
standby generators. The latter should be installed in all school premises. A major program of rehabilitation of buildings and utilities is required.
Most schools lacked access to the required specialist classrooms. The assessment of requirements is complicated, however, at a minimum the school
premises currently in use need to be provided with science laboratories, computer laboratories, language laboratories, library rooms, and gymnasia for
In many areas, lack of access to transportation and security issues may prevent children from attending classes. This is an especial problem for girls, if they
have to walk a long distance to reach the school or a means of transport. Transportation facilities are also needed to ensure access for young people living
in villages distant from a secondary school, especially for girls.
Vocational education has been badly affected because of outdated curricula, ineffective teaching methodologies and obsolete equipment. In this context, it is
important that a special need is made of vocational education programs, - their mode of delivery and content, and how to make them more demand driven.
An acute shortage of books and reading materials was found in all sub-sectors. This situation was exacerbated by the destruction of many school and college
libraries and the looting of books and reference materials, including library furniture and equipment.
Action is needed to promote participation in schooling. Immediate concerns include providing secure access to schools and improved quality of education,
through providing textbooks, improved supplies of teaching-learning materials, rehabilitation of school buildings and utilities, and school transport where
The Flash Appeal for Iraq seeks a total of 20.4 million US dollars to meet the needs of Iraqi innocent people over the next 5 years. Funding for the appeal will
enable RASIT aid groups to carry out programs to treat and educate civilians caught in a cruel conflict. The appeal contains programs that require different
levels of funding but are equally important for ensuring comprehensive response to emergency needs.