Education International
Education International

Iraqi Teachers’ Union asserts its independence from all political blocs

published 2 June 2008 updated 4 March 2022

The Iraqi Teachers’ Union (ITU) is calling on its members and branch leaders to be vigilant in protecting their organisation from being used by any political party or group in the months leading up to the governorate elections expected before October.

“Education in Iraq is for all,” the union’s governing body asserted in a position statement issued 27 May in Baghdad. The head of the ITU, Jassim Mohammed Hussein, urged his members to be cautious of political blocs that seek to use teachers in their political campaigns.

As the country is experiencing “painful, turbulent and serious changes,” it is incumbent on all citizens to preserve Iraq’s national identity, Hussein said. “And here, perhaps the greatest responsibility rests with Iraqi teachers and with the education system, for teachers are the promoters of human and cultural values.”

The union’s official statement reads as follows:

The ITU is aware of the difficulties our country is facing and therefore the ITU must clarify some points which we hope colleagues will take seriously into account: 1. Perhaps the subjective and objective challenges in Iraqi political scene requires from our union, the ITU, to be vigilant so as not to be used by any political force that seeks to use it for personal gains. Education in Iraq is for all. 2. The recent ITU action (after the fall of the dictatorship) was effective and well organized. The ITU-led picket in Iraq [December 2007], achieved most of its objectives for Iraqi teachers and helped all state employees to gain [wage increases]. The ITU-led action was praised and supported by many global sister unions and federations. And for this, the ITU will not allow its achievements to be used in political trading in the Iraqi political arena. 3. The ITU (both the central office and its branches across Iraq governorates) has nothing to do with any political bloc that carries the name of the teachers. The ITU is convinced that the teaching profession and the sacred cause of the teacher is a national cause for all Iraqis, and for all Iraqi political blocs. 4. At the same time, the ITU encourages and urges our fellow teachers and other Iraqi cultural and academic personnel to get involved in political action and parties as individuals and not as ITU. The ITU refused to be used or allow education to be used as tool for political gains. In conclusion, the ITU applauds the current political mobility that is happening at the moment which demonstrates the vitality of Iraqi society and we wish success to all Iraqis, whether they are political or otherwise. The ITU promises that it will continue to campaign on behalf of Iraqi teachers and for proper education for all Iraqis.