Iraqi Teachers Unsafe in own Classrooms

By Omar al Jaffal for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi instructed security services “to prevent the abuse of teaching and educational staff,” who he said “have taken upon themselves the educational mission of raising generations for the future of Iraq.” He also called for “pursuing whomever tries to insult either educational bodies or students.”

Abadi’s brief statement on Jan. 17 came in response to a series of attacks within Iraqi educational institutions. Iraq is already facing an educational crisis with a lack of school facilities and faculty. Increasing numbers of students are dropping out of school, and 18% of the population is illiterate.

On Jan. 16, the teachers union in the southern Iraqi province of Basra announced that the assistant director of a high school was found dead after being kidnapped on Jan. 14. The union posted to Facebook that he was killed “at the barbaric hands of the enemies of humanity and education,” without directly accusing anyone.

On Jan. 10, the director of the Basra night school al-Nussour was taken to the hospital after being bludgeoned by a group of students. The Basra police arrested two attackers, but the rest remain at large.

On Jan. 8, teaching staff of Al-Taakhi school in Muthanna province, southern Iraq, were assaulted by a student and members of his clan. Some teachers were injured as a result.

The media director for Muthanna’s educational directorate, Abbas Zaidi, told Al-Mada Press that the attack came in response to a teacher asking the student to leave class after being late. The student gathered his clan to take revenge.

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