$24m Programme to Improve Primary Education in Iraq

“Having better access to quality education in Iraq is a fundamental element for having more job opportunities in a more diversified and competitive market economy” said Jobst von Kirchmann, Head of Development Cooperation, Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Iraq.  "We, as the EU, believe that delivering quality education for all children is an investment in the future of Iraq and we'll continue to help Iraq to build its future."

Over the next three years, the programme will develop a new education policy that includes revised curricula for basic education as well as for the accelerated learning program for out-of-school adolescents. The programme will also help develop multi-year school investment plans, and ensure that schools are child-friendly with equal standards for girls and boys. The Ministry of Education’s capacity will also be strengthened to improve the planning, budgeting and monitoring of its education activities according to the most pressing needs in the country. Attention will also be given to train teachers to use child friendly teaching methodologies and to train school principals to use global best practices in managing schools. Social mobilization campaigns to increase school enrolment and completion, especially for girls, and to promote hygiene practices among students will be carried out in 1,200 communities benefitting over 600,000 of the most educationally disadvantaged children across Iraq.

Today, at around 87 per cent, the primary school enrolment rate is far below Iraq’s 2015 national Millennium Development Goal target of 98 per cent, a difference of around 700,000 new primary school-age children who never attend primary school every year. In addition, over 600,000 pupils are repeating their primary school grade of study the following year, including many who drop out of school altogether. Less than 50 per cent of all children who originally enroll in primary school go on to enroll in intermediate and secondary school during their adolescent years.

Variations in primary school enrolment, attendance and completion also exist across Iraq. While primary school enrolment is higher in both central and northern Iraq with more than 8 out of 10 children enrolled, it falls dramatically in southern Iraq with enrolment below 65 per cent in governorates such as Thi Qar, Babel and Basra. Girls are also enrolled less than boys in nearly all of Iraq’s 18 governorates, with only 82 per cent of girls nationally enrolled in primary school compared to 91 per cent for boys.

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