Kurdish education schools in Ninewa’s disputed district of Shingal (Sinjar) complain delay of school supplies which should have been provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG)’s Ministry of Education which declared the start of the new school year on 21 September across the Kurdistan Region and its directorates of education in territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.
The lack of resources is affecting teachers, students and parents as well. The shortages have compelled schools to depend on the scarce book supplies of previous years.
Sabir Selo, a fifth-grade student is yet to receive Economics, Arabic and History textbooks, and even the ones he has got are very old.
“I write down all the important notes and information they give us in class in my notebook because I haven’t received any books. The school board suggests we should photocopy the books until the problem is resolved, but we can’t afford it,” Sabir said.
The school board suggests we should photocopy the books until the problem is resolved
After some of the displaced families which fled following the Islamic State (IS) attacks in 2014 returned to Shingal, authorities reopened three preparatory and 15 basic schools in the district.
Five thousand students have been admitted to Kurdish education schools in Shingal.
“We have 500 students, but none of them has received new textbooks for the current school year,” says Nazir Khalaf, principal of Barhkudan preparatory school.
“The available old resources only covered the needs of half of the students. This problem is seriously affecting the students.”
The available old resources only covered the needs of half of the students
Khalaf criticized the officials of the KRG Ministry of Education for not addressing the issue which he fears that woud lead to more students their abandoning schools.
According to Shingal’s general director of Education the problem is linked to transportation obstacles at security checkpoints between Duhok province and Shingal.
The Directorate of Education in Dohuk sends the school supplies to Kurdish education schools in Shingal, but there are more than ten checkpoints on the main road linking Dohuk to Shingal manned by different groups; these often block Kurdish education supplies from reaching the district.
In the past two years, UNICEF was transporting the supplies.
“Since last August we have asked UNICEF and other organizations to undertake the transportation of the school supplies to Shingal, but we received no response," Hussein Khadar, general director of education in Shingal told KirkukNow.
Despite all the difficulties facing the education sector in Shingal, the director general of education seems optimistic. "We assure students that we will do everything we can to deal with the problems, but we need more time."