Getting to School in Iraq - 09.15.2008


Video - Baghdad/Adhamiya, Iraq - Over the last five years violence, terrorism, and fundamentalism have a severe impact on the ability of Iraq’s children to receive an adequate education. This week Alive in Baghdad’s Isam Rasheed speaks with parents, teachers, and children about the issues facing the Iraqi education system.

For many, simply the issue of travelling to and from school prevents them from attending their classes regularly. Roads and even schools are often closed for government military operations, or by insurgents or militias opposed to the idea of an unfettered education system.

Some neighborhoods have been affected much worse than others. In particular, the impact has differed depending on location and ethnic make-up. For example Shi’a neighborhoods such as Sadr City seem to have felt more influence from fundamentalist militias than general conflict-related violence. Schools in Adhamiya, such as the Adhamiya Primary School visited by Alive in Baghdad, have primarily been affected by raids, street battles, and mortar or rocket attacks. There are similar stories in western Baghdad’s Ameriya and Hay Al-Jama’a among others.

Violence is not the only issue which limits Iraq’s students. Incidences of communicable diseases have skyrocketed. Students with contagious diseases are understandably not permitted to mix with healthy students. The parents of sick students brought their children to school for exams and waited to take them home once they were finished. Other parents wait for their children simply out of fear for their safety.

As the 08-09 school year begins, in Adhamiya, parents, teachers, and students are hopeful. Violence and crime appears to have waned in the neighborhood. Life has been stable, and reconstruction has begun. Reconciliation and effective plans for distributing aid and government funds are still absent. Without these, the success of the school year is far from certain.

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