Despite all the problems pupils face at public schools, the children of lower and middle-class families still attend them. As Hassan Salman explains, although he is an employee of the General Company for Ports of Iraq, he has four children. He discovered that if he were to send all his children to private schools it would cost him over IQD8 million (around US$6,000). “And I only earn about IQD11 million a year so it's impossible,” he explains.
Karima Hussein is an English teacher at one of the private schools and believes the ongoing increase in fees is a form of blackmail that the families cannot escape once they are in the school. “Prices have increased so fast,” she says. “Schools also make the children buy books and uniforms and these are sold for high prices.”
The continuous rise in fees has caused the provincial government to step in. They want to pass a law to regulate private school fees. This law is only a draft right now and needs reviews, says Amin Mansour, who heads the provincial council's Committee on Education. But Mansour feels sure the law will pass.
“The law says that school fees shouldn't exceed certain amounts for certain ages, with primary school children's fees capped at IQD600,000 [US$450] and secondary school students' fees capped at IQD2.5 million [US$1,800].”