The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Education has initiated a one-month teachers’ training programme for Syrian refugees working as teachers in the refugee camps in the Kurdistan Region.
The training will target 549 refugees working as primary education teachers in Duhok, Slemani and Erbil. The intensive teachers’ training of Syrian refugees is one of the Ministry of Education’s summer activities. It is being organised together with UNICEF with a view to further supporting education and encouraging active participation of refugees in their communities.
In a statement to KRG.org, Ms Pirzheen Abdulrahman Ali, Director of Follow-up in the Ministry of Education, said, “The training will primarily focus on the areas of teaching methodologies, particularly child-friendly teaching methodologies, classroom management, lesson preparation, positive discipline, psychosocial support, and peace building,” adding that each class will be able to take “around 25 to 30 students, with one teacher in each class.”
A revised Syrian curriculum was introduced in the refugee camps during 2013. However, the Ministry of Education replaced it in January this year with the standard KRG curriculum “in order to better facilitate the examination and certification process. The language of instruction; however, is still Arabic in all of the camps due to Kurdish language barriers amongst the refugees,” the Director said.
In addition to the educational programs, the Ministry of Education also coordinates extracurricular and recreational activities for the Syrian refugees together with non-governmental organisations.
For children with special needs, programmes are already in place to address their concerns in schools in urban settings, while humanitarian agencies are offering programmes to students with special needs in the refugee camps. Moreover, along with the on-going teachers’ training that the Ministry of Education is undertaking, psychosocial help for children with post-traumatic stress disorder will also be provided.
The decision by the federal government in Baghdad to cut the Kurdistan Region’s budget has had a negative impact on the ministry’s resources and capacity to provide further services, textbooks, and learning spaces to the Syrian refugees.
As a result of the conflict in Syria, hundreds of thousands of refugees, mainly Kurds, fled to the Kurdistan Region. The number of refugees has gradually increased over the past three years. UNHCR reports list more than 226,000 Syrian refugees officially registered or awaiting registration in Iraq as of 31 May, with more than 95% of the refugees residing in the Kurdistan Region.