In addition, the overcrowded classrooms contribute to the problem; the number of students who enrolled in 2015 was 9 million. Based on this, Article 34 of the Iraqi Constitution, which stipulates “free education as a right for all Iraqis,” has become a meaningless statement as the reality on the ground shows a different situation.
Teacher Nazir al-Asadi told Al-Monitor that students and teachers in Babil province are suffering from the lack of textbooks and other necessary school materials. “Many students have no textbooks and we had to copy them in a primitive way or buy them from the black market, which cost students a fortune,” Asadi said.
Asadi added in desperation that he has lost faith in the “educational process in Iraq that affects students as they are attending classes without books. This is not to mention the overcrowded classrooms that cause students to lose focus and cause diseases given the lack of ventilation; the temperature in some classrooms reaches 50 degree Celsius [122 degrees Fahrenheit].”
For his part, Kazem al-Najjar, who has been teaching for more than two decades, told Al-Monitor, “The school curriculum textbooks are found on the black market at prices that students’ parents — who are already suffering from bad living conditions — can’t afford.”
He added, “The school curricula need to be updated, and not to mention that teaching tools in Iraq are still rudimentary, which affects the entire learning process.”
It is clear that the people in charge of the education sector have to provide the necessary material resources to enhance the field of education, and to push students to be more engaged in the entire educational process by providing the necessary school supplies, books and writing materials.
Haider Rasoul, 10, from Babil told Al-Monitor, “I look at my school and the American and European schools I see on television, where the number of students does not exceed 15 in one classroom. The schools are surrounded by gardens and flowers. Meanwhile in my school, we are about 40 students in one class that is not large enough for us and some of us have to sit on the floor.”