Education in Iraq

October 17, 2017 – This education profile describes Iraq’s education system, and trends in inbound and outbound international student mobility. It includes sample educational documents, and discusses credential evaluation challenges specific to the Iraqi system.

Presented by: Sulaf Al-Shaikhly, Advanced Education Specialist, and Jean Cui, Research Associate, WES

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Iraq is a fast-growing multi-ethnic country of 37.2 million people (2016, World Bank) neighbored by Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. The country is home to a variety of ethnic groups, including Arabs (75 to 80 percent of the population), Kurds  (15 to 20 percent), Turkmen, Assyrians, Shabak, and Yazidi (5 percent combined). The most dominant religions are Islam (Sh’ia Islam followed by 55 to 60 percent of the population and Sunni Islam (40 percent). Minority religions include: Christianity, Yazidism, Sabean Mandaeanism, Baha’i faith, Zoroastrianism and others (less than 1 percent combined). The different languages and dialects spoken in the country include the official languages of Arabic and Kurdish, as well a Turkmen, Syriac (Neo-Aramaic), and Armenian, which are considered official languages only in areas populated by these minorities, predominantly located in the north of the country. (CIA World Factbook) Arabic is spoken or understood by the vast majority of Iraqis.