Shatha Khalil *
The educational institution in Iraq has deteriorated markedly as it was not isolated from the effects of the US occupation of Iraq after 2003. Studies on the status of schools in post-war Iraq have confirmed that thousands of school facilities lack the basic necessities to provide decent education for Iraq’s children, and one third of primary schools in Iraq lack water supply, and about half of them lack health facilities at all.
The study confirmed that the most affected Iraqi provinces are ( Dhi Qar , Salaheddin and Diyala, ) where more than 70% of primary school buildings either lack water supply or the water network is not functioning.
All these circumstances have helped and paved the way for the blatant Iranian intervention in Iraqi affairs, and at all levels, including its intervention in the educational institution, this vital sector in an attempt to adapt its programs to the size of its goals by spreading its culture, ideas , and beliefs to the emerging generations of Iraqis .
and Iranian intervention in Iraq has been aided by pro-Iranian parties and parties that directly contributed to the destruction of Iraq’s educational system.
Iranian incursion reaches the minds of Iraqi students!
These interventions, which were supported by the control of the militias and parties affiliated with Tehran, which controls the joints of the government in Iraq, and put their hand on the educational process, which have serious implications. And that “these parties” in turn pressed the government to change educational curricula and education on a continuous basis, to achieve profits through the change for the politics and money, so that the curriculum reached very low stages , both at the scientific level or even technical.
These interventions to change the curriculum provoked the students ‘and parents’ anger at a general strike in all Iraqi schools on 19 and 20 December 2018, but without result or without taking any formal government action against Iranian interference in the ideas of our students.
The Ministry of Education’s Information Office in its turn refused to comment on the matter. An education official, who declined to be named for fear of being targeted by the Tehran militias, revealed detailed information about the Iranian incursion into the educational sector and the Tehran project to brainwash the Iraqi children.
Where he stressed that “the current curricula are all developed by the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad, which oversees the printing of curricula in Iranian printing presses inside Iraq.”
He pointed out that “this process has been going on since 2007, according to an agreement between the Ministries of Education of Iraq and Iran in the era of the Minister of Education Khudhair Khuzaie.”
The agreement , in addition to Iran’s supervision on the curriculum development and printing, included the opening of schools in most Iraqi cities according to Iranian rules, stressing that the curricula set by the regime in Tehran , are working to falsify the facts to suit its policy and expansionist project in the region.
The same official revealed the presence of about 20 Iranian schools throughout Iraq, where teachers from the elements of Quds Force teach, the external wing of the Revolutionary Guard militia, and these schools have special curricula different from those taught in Iraqi schools. It is directly linked to the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad.
What does Iran want from the emerging Iraqi generations?
The Iranian ambitions in Iraq have not ceased since ever until now, not only with political intervention and economic control, and its influence in all sectors of the country but it wants more, as by opening schools inside Iraq, Iran seeks to create parallel education, just as it did in the process of establishing militias of the popular crowd that is considered the parallel forces to the Iraqi regular army.
Iranian schools have been operating in Iraq since 2007. This year, an Iranian school named Khomeini was opened in the Christian-dominated part of Bartala in Mosul after its liberation from Da’ash. This angered the Iraqi street, and there will be other schools in Sunni governorates, such as Anbar, Diyala and Salahuddin, and that the constructions of these schools are under the direct supervision of a specialized committee in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
Observers say that the Iranian plan aims to build hundreds of schools and cultural centers in all provinces of Iraq, to consolidate the concepts of Iranian revolutionary ideology in the minds of generations of children and young people.
Seduction factors practiced by Iranian schools to attract students as the “Iranian schools are working to give students clothes and meals, as well as free educational supplies, in addition to the allocation of money to each student, which helped to attract a lot of students in the southern provinces” .
Iran has established integrated institutions to spread its ideas in Iraq. It has established schools, orphanages and civil society organizations in order to learn the Persian language and culture in Basra and a number of Iraqi cities targeting the poor in Iraq to gain allegiance.
A source who declined to be identified said “The curriculum adopted in these schools are completely different from the curricula set by the Iraqi Ministry of Education. Even the curricula taught in the schools of the Ministry of Education have changed, some historical events have been omitted, and weak prophetic sayings have been added to Islamic education.
In turn, the political and strategic expert of Iraq, Mohamed Hayani pointed out, that the Iranian occupation of his country is not only military or economic, but also cultural, considering that this is the most serious facing Iraq now.
Al-Hayani added that Iran is carrying out the project of ignoring and disrupting the correct thinking in Iraq, through the curricula that are part of the large Iranian expansion project in the region.
Al-Hayani warned that current curricula are planting sectarian, religious and ethnic divisions among the components of society, and falsifying historical and scientific facts in favor of the Iranian regime.
As part of its evil project, Iran seeks to brainwash the Iraqis when Tehran and its militias are keen to have their centers in Iraq in the form of legitimate schools and training centers aimed at recruiting Iraqis from the age of seven to advanced ages of university and institutes students.
The most prominent problems experienced by students:
– The high rates of ignorance and illiteracy in Iraq, as a natural result of the high rates of poverty in the country, where the rate of illiteracy in Iraq to more than 30% of the total of education after the US occupation as a result of poverty and government neglect of the reality of education, which led to a significant decline in the number of schools, and 80% of them are in dire need of the reform and more than 70% of them are in need of clean water and sanitary toilets, as well as the presence of 320 thousand of the displaced students who did not complete their studies because of the military operations and battles in different parts of the country .
-The high rate of illiteracy in Iraq has created , according to experts, marginalized groups in society, which in turn are the social and environmental basis for committing misdemeanors, crimes, drug trafficking and human organs, and the search for illegal forms of gain such as theft, embezzlement, forgery, robbery and begging.
-Iraqi families are busy in the midst of this problem in securing the lives of their children when they moved to and from their colleges and universities as their girls may be subjected to kidnappings, robberies and violation , or male and female students may be exposed to unforeseen incidents or universities or colleges will be exposed to gunshot despite the keenness of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to secure its headquarters and the implementation of several security measures when the entry and exit of auditors to the universities to impose a kind of security stability to the minimum within the campus.
-Deterioration of the economic situation: There may not be a financial resource for most students to secure their expenses, especially in university education because of their poor standard of living, which causes them to work outside working hours to secure a financial source for the livelihood of their families and to provide a living in the event of loss of father or mother or both for many reasons , which creates a difficult environment for the student to cope with this difficult economic situation.
-Insufficient educational requirements: Students suffer from the lack of printed curricula in the form of modern books, where most colleges work on the system of coping lectures of teachers, forcing students to double their expenses that should be light on them in this transition stage .
-Loss of feeling of psychological stability: After 2003, Iraqi students faced many crises, including power outages and frequent transport crises when they moved to and from their universities. All these conditions affect their psychology and their level of university life.
Solutions and Remedies to Improve the Education Sector in Iraq:
The fair observer of the education sector in Iraq, after reviewing the dilemmas and problems that have afflicted the sector since the beginning of the US occupation of Iraq and until now, puts a number of visions and perceptions that may make this sector to face its problems with minimal losses and material and human costs. Here we conclude access to some solutions that reforming the reality of education in the country:
-Stopping the Iranian intervention in the joints of the state, and the rejection of Iranian schools completely in Mosul and other provinces of Iraq, as being an Iraqi matter and related to the people of the homeland, and the interference of Iranians provoke sectarian strife.
– Stopping the construction of Iranian schools to be built in central and southern Iraq, where Iranian teachers are teaching special curricula.
– Attention of the Iraqi government to the dangerous Iranian plan, which aims to build hundreds of schools and cultural centers in all provinces, and Iranian integrated institutions to disseminate their ideas targeting the poor class in Iraq.
Competent government agencies should:
-To accelerate the development of solutions to preserve the future generations of Iraq.
-The need to accelerate the rehabilitation of educational and university facilities, and improve the services within them including : the provision of potable water and electricity (and in the case of power cuts the need for generators to generate electricity).
-Strengthening security protection for school and university facilities.
-Activation of the law of university service after its adoption since February 2005 to improve the salaries of professors and teachers in universities, as happened to teachers , whose salaries increased well after 2003 .
-Taking benefit from the summer vacation to send teachers , male and female , in the primary education sector and professors and teachers in Iraqi universities outside Iraq to take part in required courses to learn about the experiences of other countries in the field of education and transfer it to their country to improve the quality of the educational process.
-To give due attention to the teaching staff and to improve the conditions of the social professors, includes providing housing and personal car, as well as summer and winter clothing to have certain prestige in the community and to encourage them to serve better continuously .
-Enhancement and support of visual aids and laboratories (teaching aids) within educational and university institutions.
-Interest in students and provide a summer and winter clothing and take care of their scientific and academic level.
-Provision of Iraqi textbooks and studies for the education sector both scientific and literary branches, and to reduce the material burden on students by not having to copy lectures and textbooks that are not in schools and universities.
-Activate contacts with foreign universities and maintain communication with them through exchange of cultural and teaching delegations to exchange experiences.
-Development of Internet and computer services in schools and universities, and the involvement of teachers, professors, and students in training courses to develop their dealings with this modern technology.
-Most importantly, the government must pay attention to the poverty that has caused the disruption of Iraqi society due to brain drain and employment abroad, as large numbers of scientific competencies have migrated to foreign countries after suffering from poverty, targeting and neglect of the government.
Thus, poverty in Iraq is a major obstacle to development and urbanization. It is also a threat to the social, scientific and educational stability of the country. It is a major source of concern and insecurity for the poor citizen on his present and future which opens the door to the Iranian intervention , all this , and government actions and reforms are just failed slogans , and corruption that brought the country to the brink of abyss, and awaits a darker future.
Economic Studies Unit
Rawabet Center for Research and Strategic Studies