According to a recent report published by the UN, Iraqi children await education even after two years ISIL’s wipe-off in many areas, as they do not have access to schools and necessary documentation needed for enrollment.
The study conducted in collaboration with UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN human rights office, OHCHR, is based on interviews and group consultations with some 237 children, youngsters and teachers across six camps for displaced persons (IDPs) in Ninewa governorate and in the cities of Mosul and Erbil.
Interviewees, it was reported, said their movement is redistricted in camps which prevents them from attending schools and performing other routine activities.
The report titled The Right to Education in Iraq: Part One – The legacy of ISIL territorial control on access to education, further revealead, “Many children who were in school when living under ISIL control are now young adults, making them too old to attend mainstream schools and are left with no alternative options. These challenges are creating a marginalized generation of children and young adults, many of whom are or will be entering adulthood without any post-primary schooling”.
It was stated in the report that one boy told the authors: “There is no future in the camp anyway, what am I going to do here? Why do I need an education for this life? It has been so long since we were at school, our minds feel closed to learning, and some of us can no longer even read and write. We have no support to overcome these things. Even if I could take the exams, I would not pass them. I don’t see a future for myself.”
Since 2014, ISIL also known as Daesh have carried out violence, oppression and systematic human rights violations, causing death and destruction everywhere they went.
If numbers are to be belied, approximately 1.4 million people have been uprooted including some 658,000 children half of whom are not in schools.
Albeit, ISIL’s defeat in 2017 has brought some relief to Iraq’s conflict-ridden areas, yet “counter-insurgency operations” continue. Moreover, families with perceived linkages with the militant group are under severe watch and restrictions.
The UN News reported, that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said, “the importance of the right to education for children and young people cannot be overstated”. And “Inclusive, quality education is not just a right in itself but it is essential for the full realization of a range of other human rights. Education literally has the power to transform lives and make dreams come true”.
The authors have even come-up with several recommendations for the Iraqi authorities.
Even though the authors acknowledge Government efforts to ensure access to education, they believe measures need to be taken urgently to facilitate people in obtaining civil documentation.
Furthermore, Government should focus on making primary and secondary education accessible to all Iraqi, even those with IDP status.
The measures it is stated can include, “increasing the number of schools and teaching hours, and expanding alternative education programs. Teachers can also be trained in how to teach students who have suffered trauma”.