United Nations agencies have welcomed the launch by the Government of Iraq of its first-ever national educational strategy, which will help to ensure quality education for the country's 33 million citizens, especially the most deprived children and youth.
Among the elements of the strategy is providing free and accessible education to children and youth from pre-school to higher education, as well as ensuring a high quality education based on global best practices, according to a joint news release issued by the UN and the Government.
It was developed by a committee of education experts and advisors within the ministries of education and higher education in Baghdad and Erbil, with international technical expertise and guidance provided by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Bank.
“We applaud the Government for its commitment to ensure all children have their right to a quality education, especially the thousands of children who are currently missing out on the timely development of the competencies, skills and opportunities that a quality education will provide them,” said Marzio Babille, UNICEF's Representative to Iraq.
“We now look forward to working so that all children complete their primary education on time and continue on to secondary school.”
The strategy aims to enhance social reintegration and cohesion as well as prevent social exclusion within Iraqi society. It calls for financial resources to be dedicated to ensure adequate educational, psychological and social support for the most marginalized individuals across Iraq.
Key educational targets in the strategy include increasing Iraq's pre-school enrolment rate from the current rate of 7 per cent, to 22 per cent by 2020, as well as the primary school enrolment rate from 93 per cent to 98 per cent by the end of 2015.
The strategy also emphasizes the importance of having quality curriculum, institutions, and resources in higher education.
“With an emphasis on improving secondary and post-secondary education, this strategy responds to Iraq's basic needs in education in the short term, while stimulating a longer-term competitive knowledge-centred economy,” said Mohamed Djelid, Director of the UNESCO Office in Iraq.