Iraq, 2008 – Education is fast becoming a casualty of Iraq’s ongoing conflict, despite extraordinary determination on the part of government and families to keep schools functioning. Prior to 1990, education was a thriving sector in Iraq. But after two decades of war and deprivation, the quality and availability of learning deteriorated dramatically. By 2000, budget constraints were seriously limiting the provision of textbooks and other teaching and learning materials. Fewer resources were available to rehabilitate dilapidated school infrastructure, denying children the opportunity to study in a child friendly environment. The advent of war again in 2003 has contributed to a generall “stalling” of progress in education. Girls continue to suffer most severely in many parts of the country.
Today, despite some positive achievements in northern and southern Iraq, ongoing violence is posing new challenges in the country’s central zone. In an insecure atmosphere where schools have been targeted, many parents are having to choose between education and safety for their children, with girls once again the most affected. But even in these challenging conditions, millions of children are still attending school whenever they have the chance.