ERBIL, Iraq, 26 February 2013 – The Kurdistan Regional Government has adopted a set of comprehensive standards to ensure that primary schools across the region become ideal learning environments where children can obtain a high quality education.
The Ministry of Education and UNICEF have developed these school standards as part of a larger programme supported by the European Union to improve the quality of and access to primary education across Iraq.
“By accepting and implementing these standards, children will have model school settings to study and learn in,” said Dr. Assmet Mohammed Khalid, the Minister of Education in the Kurdistan Regional Government.
The standards cover ten broad areas of school improvement: the school building; school management; the school's budget; community involvement in supporting education; capacity building of teachers; water and sanitation facilities; a protective environment that supports recreation and play; improved curriculum; school feeding; and participation of all children.
“If these standards are attained, primary schools will become safe, healthy and stimulating centres of learning, which will give young children the opportunity to fully develop all of their innate abilities,” said Dr. Marzio Babille, UNICEF’s Representative to Iraq.
While primary school completion rates in the Kurdistan region are amongst the highest in Iraq with 65% of children completing primary school on time, every year over 280,000 children still either do not graduate on time or drop out of school altogether.
“As more and more schools across Iraq attain these standards, thousands more Iraqi children will stay in school and have an improved quality of education, which will improve their opportunities to realize their full potential and provide greater contributions to Iraq's future development and prosperity,” said Ms. Jana Hybaskova, the Ambassador of the European Union to Iraq.
About UNICEF Iraq
UNICEF has been in Iraq since 1983 working to ensure Iraqi children survive and realize their full potential. UNICEF maintains its comparative advantage in health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, child protection and social policy in its support to the Government of Iraq. UNICEF supports the development of child friendly policies, building the capacity of institutions that deliver essential services to children and convening all duty bearers to realize the full rights of Iraqi children. Via a network of staff and partners, UNICEF’s programmes improve basic health services, safeguard a quality education, develop water and sanitation systems, protect children from abuse, violence, and exploitation, and meet the needs of the most deprived and vulnerable.
UNICEF works in 190 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
About EU Support to Education in Iraq
Education sector has been a focus priority in the EU support to Iraq. Total allocation has reached around €179 million to date, focusing on enhancing access and in improving participation and completion at all levels of education in Iraq through: rehabilitation of schools; reduction of overcrowding in educational establishments; development of an improved learning environment through the provision of teaching and learning materials; procurement and distribution of textbooks; policy formulation and curriculum development; teacher training; and improve health and nutrition of students.
About EU in Iraq
Helping Iraqi national efforts in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which have a strong two-way link to the peace consolidation process is fundamental for the EU. The EU’s objective for cooperation with Iraq has been to help Iraq mobilise its own resources for recovery and development, with the support of the international community. EU support to Iraq from 2003 to the end of 2012 amounts to over 1.183 billion Euro targeting mainly the following sectors: basic services such as education, health, water and sanitation, infrastructure; political and electoral process; support to refugees and IDPs; rule of law; human rights; and capacity building of Iraqi institutions. For more information about EU in Iraq visit: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/iraq