Government’s neglect restores illiteracy and the spread of epidemics in Iraq

Government’s neglect restores illiteracy and the spread of epidemics in Iraq

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Shatha Khalil *
The education and health sector in Iraq is witnessing a marked decline that predicts the collapse of the public and private sectors, especially after 2003, the beginning of the era of “counterfeit democracy and the distorted political process” which brought some parties that do not have the experience and efficiency in the state administration but only have experience on the corruption and major thefts of the People’s money , and the wealth of the homeland, and stir up sectarian strife, hatred , revenge , exclusion and marginalization, and the destruction of the fabric of Iraqi society.
Those parties have not succeeded in building a modern civil state. On the contrary, they have been “distinguished” by the destruction of the institutions of the Iraqi state and its main bases of industry, agriculture, trade and economy. One of the most dangerous things that has destroyed in addition to the political process is the destruction of the national unity of the people and the systematic destruction of the education and health sector.

Before 2003, the budget of the Iraqi Ministry of Education was only $ 6 million. It was ranked third among the educational sector in the Arab countries. Today, the ministry’s budget is $ 3 billion. It is out of the Arab and international education rankings, where schools are collapsed and not suitable for education and the people are turning towards the private educational sector.
It is well known that countries facing wars and disasters are able during a period of time to recover and rebuild what was destroyed by the war by developing scientific plans and studied programs and work seriously and effectively only in Iraq after 2003 where some of the parties that dominated the country’s political scene have increased the destruction of all parts of the country and fields of life of the country.
According to Professor Imad Mutaib al- Zuhairi : The educational system in Iraq before 2003 was one of the best educational systems in the region by the witness of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) issued in April 2003 saying that education was free and compulsory for basic education, free of public education and university studies, including postgraduate studies.
In the mid-1980s, illiteracy was abolished under the Iraq Compulsory Education Act, which was in force in a comprehensive national campaign. UNESCO honored Iraq with four awards in 1985 for this achievement.
After the 2003 , the education siyuation in Iraq has dropped significantly and attempts to reform it have been halted and weak governments have contributed to its collapse , and in the year 2015, UNESCO has confirmed that there are two million Iraqi children out of school and more than a million children at risk of dropping out of school, which means the collapse of education and the decline of enrollment Students in schools and thousands of experienced teachers have left teaching due to migration or displacement.
Iraq has lost a lot of scientific competencies both outside the country and within it. Because of the ethnic and sectarian cleansing that took place in Diyala, the Baghdad belt, the governorates of Salah al-Din, Kirkuk, and Al-Anbar, 14,000 teachers have migrated noting these statics have been conducted before the liberation of the western provinces from the terrorist organization ISIS and the displacement and annihilation of the remaining inhabitants on the pretext of their belonging to the ISIS.
Statistics indicate the return of illiteracy to Iraq, where the number of illiterates according to the latest statistics 6 million citizens, equivalent to 20% of the population of Iraq.
According to the official statistics of the Iraqi Ministry of Education, the number of students enrolled in the first grade of primary school in 2005 was 1 million pupils, while those who reached the sixth preparatory and participated in the 2017 examinations, only four thousand students, which means that Iraq lost 600 thousand students during the course of study between the primary and secondary levels.
According to the statistics, that students who participated in the baccalaureate exams in 2017 , only 28.4% of them have succeeded which means that only 100,000 students passed the sixth preparatory stage in the first round of the total of one million students enrolled in schools in 2005, which means 900,000 students have not reached and passed the sixth secondary grade It is strange that this scientific disaster did not draw the attention of the government and officials, and did not hold accountability of any of the official bodies since 2005 to today, and did not hold accountability of the education ministers for this failure, which lasted for years, and the reasons behind the loss of Iraq for 60% of those, leave the study and academic failure , the displacement and poor educational system, which led to the revival of the private sector of the private l schools .

Private schools in Iraq: private education sector in Iraq witnessed an unprecedented increase in the number of private schools. As they reached in early April, more than 1,400 schools. Baghdad, Basra and Najaf ranked first in the number of private schools, followed by Anbar, Babel, Dhi Qar and Qadissiya.
These schools have some 13,000 teachers, mostly retired or unregistered in the state , and absorb some 150,000 Iraqi students who have deserted public schools in the last few years due to poor education, the collapse of their infrastructure and the overall poor educational process compared to private schools.

Health sector
That the Iraqi Ministry of Health suffered from the decline and collapse similar to what hit the ministry of Education, which suffers from rampant corruption. Before 2003, the Ministry of Health, which was not at the level of ambition , operated and managed by a budget of 16 million dollars, and has achieved high rates of eradication of polio and smallpox and tuberculosis and vaccinated 5 million Iraqi children, 3 million women, raised the number of hospital beds to 36 thousand beds, and carried out about 1.5 million surgical operations annually, and patients from Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and Palestine come for treatment free of charge in Iraq, but today the budget of the ministry is estimated at 4 billion US dollars, and the hospitals became a station of transition from this world to the Hereafter , a place of death. ”

Iraq is witnessing a rise in the number of private hospitals, medical centers and health centers, in conjunction with the almost complete collapse in the services of the Ministry of Health during the past four years, which was considered the worst of performance.
The same applies to Iraqi government hospitals, which have become the poor choice in the country, in addition to the lack of adequate treatment, care and patient care. Observers confirm that the death rates in Iraqi public hospitals have increased six fold in the past four years, as well as neglect of patients.
Which has led to an increase in the number of private medical facilities, with the opening of more than 70 private facilities, and the private sector is flourishing due to the collapse of government health services, which made investors of Turks, Lebanese and Iranians are looking in Iraq for commercial investment in the health sector.

The spread of epidemic diseases in the second largest city in Iraq:
The absence of the role of the Iraqi Ministry of Health and the lack of efforts to control the spread of diseases and epidemics in the city of Mosul, which has a population of more than two and a half million people, threatens a disaster in the near future, as Mosul is suffering , after months of liberation from the terrorist organization ISIS , from the spread of various epidemic diseases , and local sources confirmed that , after the return of civilians from the people of the city of Mosul to their homes , the epidemic diseases have increased significantly, especially the skin diseases .
The crisis in Mosul has been exacerbated by the growing number of destroyed buildings and the bodies of civilians buried under the rubble, and the use of toxic gases during the military operations, which led to the spread of epidemics, lack of health care and lack of medicines and the collapse of hospitals, which has negatively affected the lives of citizens of Mosul and its displaced.
While the Iraqi Ministry of Health has not taken its proper role in resolving the crisis and controlling it, sterilizing the city’s streets, the hospitals in Mosul are experiencing great momentum and over crowded in light of poor health care and lack of support and medicines.
Recently , an official government report evaluated , issued by the secretariat of the Council of ministers , the work of the ministries of health and education that they are the worst one in the Iraqi government , and Iraqi MP Ali Shukri said “The problem is not in the cadres of the two ministries in terms of technical, but in the failure to manage public money and provide services,” .
Shukri added: “Certainly the lack of services and the collapse of infrastructure, which leads to people’s heading towards health and education services,” noting that “it is natural that the citizen seeks alternatives, and this revives and increases the number.”

MP Mohammad al-Abd Rabbah pointed out “The two ministries are not free of financial and administrative corruption, so the citizen is abandoning its institutions in search of the best, especially since education and health are also important and dangerous sectors,” . he added ” day after day , education and health sector and other government sectors are deteriorating in the country and there is no supervision and no sanctions, so people go to a good place for education and medicine,”.

Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies