Education International
Education International

Iraq: Quality education for displaced people in Kurdistan

published 12 November 2014 updated 4 March 2022

Maintaining the education process for displaced teachers, students, and learners was the theme of a workshop organised by teacher unionists, together with UNESCO.

To celebrate World Teachers’ Day, 5 October, and to act on improving education and learning and the situation of displaced teachers, students, and learners, the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU), affiliated to Education International (EI), and UNESCO held a workshop on 27 October in Erbil.

Representatives of the Iraq Education Ministry and Kurdistan’s education authority attended the meeting, together with 40 displaced teachers from Ninawa, Anbar, Salahaddin, and Baghdad, as well as a number of KTU Secretariat members.

In their speeches, UNESCO representative and Iraq Office Director Axel Plathe, KTU President Abdulwahed Mohammad Haji and the Ministry of Education representative highlighted the importance of unity and cooperation to confront education and learning problems in the Kurdistan region and Iraq.

Plathe stated that “500,000 young people are at risk of missing out learning opportunities and their future is jeopardized if we cannot give them access to education”. He saluted teachers for their “extremely important role” in this phase, considering that they are “central to shaping minds and attitudes of those 500,000 people, so that they can deal with new challenges and seize arising opportunities”.

Participants agreed upon the need to speed up the process of solving these problems.

EI: Children’s right to education

“Since its creation, EI has been calling upon all nations to respect and implement every child’s human right to education,” EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said. “Children of refugees, asylum seekers, or seekers of residence on humanitarian grounds are more vulnerable than other children.”

Improving access to quality education for all children, including those with special needs, refugee and migrant (legal or illegal) children, and promoting a rights-based approach to education, represents a pre-requisite for participation in a modern society and attaining social justice and sustainable development, he said.