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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Essay on Iraqi Educational System

INSTRUCTIONS:  I need an essay that is from a video on demand. Its website link is

Please answer the following two questions:

1. The speaker gave an overview of the Iraqi higher education system
over the last 40 years. List and describe some of the milestones and
their effects.

2. The speaker mentioned some similarities and differences between
Iraqi and US university students today. Characterize these.

Iraqi Educational System
            Most of the modern universities in Iraq were founded during the second half of the last centuries. Some of the very first higher education institutions include the University of Technology, Al-Mustanasiya University, Sulaymaniah University, Basrah University, and the Mosul University which were all established during the 1960s. By 1970 until mid of 1980, the education sector experienced a surge of development in terms of literacy and enrolment rate. Dubbed as the “Golden Years”, Iraq’s gross enrolment rate increased to more than 100% while illiteracy rate plummeted to less than 10%. Apart from this, gender equality was advocated in schools and universities as more and more women enrolled for higher education (UNESCO, 2013, p.1).
By 1984 up until 1989 however, these universities along with a number of constituent colleges sustained significant damages in terms of quality and infrastructure because of the conflict with Iran. In addition to this, the economic sanctions led to the decline of resources used to fund public schools. Consequently, this resulted to a steep downfall of the educational budget and spending. As the government was more focused on military spending, all strategic planning to renew the country’s educational system were either cancelled or postponed.
By 1990 up until the early part of 2000, Iraq’s educational institutions continued to weaken due to the First Gulf War. One of the most obvious outcomes of the debilitated system was the dropout rate which reached to more than 20%. Additionally, almost an entire generation of teachers, scholars, and academes fled from the Hussein regime as well as from decreased salary rate. And while the government tried to rehabilitate the educational system, it continued to suffer because of insufficient and limited capacity to create and manage efficient higher education programs (UNESCO, 2013, p.1).
            After over two decades, the Iraqi government together with the international community is aiming at the revitalization of the educational system. More importantly, the education sector will play a vital role in eliminating the sectarian division; and at the same time foster long-term economic, political, and social stability within the country. In 2003, Iraq received a substantial assistance from the international community to reform the educational system. One of the immediate objectives was to abolish the Baathist ideology from the curriculum. Aside from this, a new Ministry of Education was appointed to revise the national curriculum.
            By February 2005, UNESCO participated in revitalizing and strengthening the higher education in Iraq. The international academic community as well as other international organizations provided help by developing and accrediting quality curricula which will be used in schools and universities. Similarly, teachers were trained while educational institutions were given new technologies. Infrastructure needs were also addressed through the help of international donors.
            Although Iraq’s current educational system is far from what it has experienced during its golden years, the reconstruction and rehabilitation in Iraqi universities dramatically elevated that opportunities of students to receive quality education. In fact, Iraqi and U.S. university students today share a number of similarities. This is evident in the quality training and education received by the students. Similarly, more and more opportunities of employment are opening up for both male and female Iraqi graduates.

“Iraq’s Higher Educational System” (2012). University of Illinois. Retrieved 27 June 2013, from
“Higher Education for Iraq”. (2013) UNESCO. Retrieved 27 June 2013, from

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