Shingal: Student dropout rate rising rapidly

Shingal- Elementary school students return home after school, 2019   Photo: KirkukNow

Ammar Aziz- Ninewa

 Lack of schools in some of the IDP camps located on Mount Shingal is pushing more students to drop out of school.

Furthermore, the appalling living condition of most of the displaced families there, and their inability to provide transportation expenses, in case they want to send their students to schools outside the camp, represents another challenge.

Last year, Salam Hassan, 16, decided to abandon school because his family couldn’t afford to pay 35,000 IQD needed in transportation costs.

Salam’s family lives in Sardasht IDP camp on Mount Shingal. As there is no school in the camp, he had to go to a school in nearby Sinune sub-district, before he dropped out.

Being the elder son, Salam had to undertake the responsibility of caring for the family, after his father’s sudden illness.

“I really want to go back to school, but we are poor,” he said adding that he cannot walk 15 kilometers to school every day, nor can pay 35,000 IQD for transportation expenses.

Salam Hassan is an example of hundreds of students facing similar challenges.

Sixth grade graduates have to admit to schools far outside the camp

The schools in most of the camps have from first to sixth grade; therefore, sixth grade graduates have to admit to schools far outside the camp if they want to complete their education.

“We have until the 6th grade here,” said Murad Alyas Namr, principal of camp Sardasht’s elementary school who is one of four volunteer teachers at the school.

A total of 400 students attend classes at Sardasht School. Since the start of this year’s academic year, as many as 50 students have dropped out.

“Most families can’t afford to pay 5,000 IQD a month to support the teaching staff of the school; therefore, they are  taking their children out of school,” said Murad Alyas, who believes the number of school leavers will increase unless support is provided.

School leavers are aged 7 to 16, and most of them come from impoverished families

Ali Sha’bo, Sardasht IDP Camp manger, speaking to KirkukNow, stressed that the situation in the two camps on Mount Shingal is dire, and that the education process there is “on the verge of collapse.”

An estimated 1,100 students attend classes at two schools set up in both camps’ those who graduate from the 6th grade have no choice but to go to Sinune.

Sha’bo indicated that so far 300 students have abandoned Mount Shingal camp schools.

He explained that the school leavers are aged 7 to 16, and most of them come from impoverished families.


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