Vulnerabilities

School System Development:In the past, most of the institutions and companies in Iraq belonged to the government. The same was true of education. There were no private schools or universities; just public schools. So, education was free, but the quality was poor. Our current system came from that outdated model. As a result, there has been only limited emphasis placed on competition. This has limited development and allowed things to remain somewhat stagnant.

Teachers: Educators are not encouraged to continuously develop their teaching skills. The system itself often doesn’t allow for competition or supplemental training. As a result, some teachers lack sufficient training.

Infrastructure: As a result of previous conflicts in the region, there is a lack of educational infrastructure. In many cities and villages, the educational facilities were destroyed. Today, some classrooms are overcrowded and make learning challenging.

Rotating Shifts: Due to these infrastructure problems, most school sessions do not last from early morning until the mid-afternoon like in the US or Europe. Generally, students go to school in shifts, with schools having two or three per day. The students’ experience is therefore compacted into only a few hours of learning.

After School Programs: Students do not have regular access to ideal study areas such as dormitories or libraries. Additionally, there are only limited programs for after school activities or tutoring, which can make studying more challenging than it should be.

Students Themselves: Kurdistan is in a boom period, so it’s easier for people to make money than ever before. Students associated with newfound wealth may not always see the importance of schooling or see the role that education plays in success. However, when the economic development slows, these same students will find themselves in a much more challenging position. We need to teach these young people about the role of education in creating rewarding, long-term careers.

Solutions

Transparency: The government and the private sector should be very transparent in their hiring processes. If the process is transparent and is based on merit and experience, it will lead to a dramatic improvement. Transparency will encourage individuals to study and become qualified for specific professional positions, as there will be established, defined qualifications.

Public-Private Partnership: The private sector should be involved in specialized management of public schools. Kurdistan needs specialized school-management companies to oversee specific blocks of schools. In this system, the government will still create the curriculum and allocate funds for salaries and supplies, but private companies will handle the hiring of faculty and the management of daily activities. This would create more organization and basic regulation. Localization: Foreign education systems do not reflect the frame of mind or overall culture of Kurdistan. So, although we need to reflect trends in globalization and other foreign education styles, our school system must demonstrate the values and beliefs of our society.

English: Many of today’s resources are rooted in English, but not all schools in Kurdistan teach in English or even have good English-language programs. Implementing more English classes would allow students to have increased familiarity with new technology and gain access to more information.

Government Funding: The government should provide funding for basic computers for use in primary schools. This equipment would allow students to learn how to use basic applications and how to navigate the internet to improve their knowledge.