Background Brief - Education
The Oil-for-Food Programme was established in April 1995 as a temporary measure to ease the unintended consequences of United Nations sanctions on Iraq's civilian population. The first Iraqi oil sold under the programme to pay for humanitarian supplies, was exported in December 1996 and the first shipments of food arrived in March 1997. The Oil-for-Food Programme now covers 24 sectors of need. It has prevented the further degradation of public services and infrastructure and has made a significant difference in the humanitarian situation nationwide.
Schools and students throughout Iraq suffer from poor, over-crowded facilities and scarce learning materials. Teachers are poorly paid and schools commonly operate in double shifts to meet students' needs.
In the central and southern governorates, the distribution of 1.2 million school desks has met the needs of 60 per cent of primary and secondary school students. In 1996, these students would have taken classes sitting on bare floors.
In the centre and south, new university campuses are being built in Diyala and Kufa, and new universities are opening in Kerbala and Thi-Qar. Local production of textbooks has increased with the delivery of essential supplies.
In the three northern governorates, the Oil-for-Food Programme helped to increase primary school attendance by 32 per cent between 1996 and 2002, and secondary school attendance by over 74 per cent during the same period. Most schools now operate in two rather than three shifts as a result of the increased availability of educational facilities.
In Sulaymaniyah, the University campus has relocated to new premises in Qilyasan and Bakrajo. This will benefit more than 22,000 students and staff members.
With better equipped schools and institutions, the north witnessed a 32 per cent increase in primary school attendance and 74 per cent growth in secondary school attendance between 1996 and 2002. Teacher training is also yielding better quality education for those who attend.