100 Kurdish teachers have left Tuz Khurmatu district in Salahuddin province. The number of Kurdish students is reduced by 2000.
The decrease in the number of students in Kurdish schools started in 2017 when the Federal Government forces and the PMU (Shi’a militia coalition known as Hashd) expelled Peshmerga forces from disputed areas in the wake of the independent referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
Prior to those events, there were 8,000 students attending Kurdish schools. The number is now reduced to 6,000. And of a total of 650 Kurdish teachers, there are 550 left.
Tariq Ahamad, the head of Kurdish Education at Tuz Khurmatu Education Department, told KirkukNow: “The reason is that after the return of Iraqi forces, some families were displaced and moved to the Kurdistan Region. So far, most of those families have not returned.”
“Another reason is that some families can’t afford to send their children to school due to the financial crisis. And others send their children to Arabic schools.”
Another problem for Kurdish education in that district is a shortage in the number of school buildings and lack of renovation of the existing ones. Education officials from the district request Baghdad for help.
The Education Ministry of the KRG and the Federal Government must take care of Kurdish education and provide us with teachers
“The Education Ministry of the KRG and the Federal Government must take care of Kurdish education and provide us with teachers on a [temporary] contract basis. Because we don’t have enough teachers, and every year their number decreases,” Tariq Ahmad added.
In Tuz Khurmatu, the main three ethnicities (Kurds, Turkmens and Arabs) get education in their mother language and the Education Department falls under the administration of the Federal Government.
But one of the complications for the Kurdish education is that it follows the programme and curriculum of the Education Ministry of the KRG, but it takes orders from the Federal Government.
Tariq Ahmad further said: “Shortage in school buildings is the biggest problem facing Kurdish education. At some schools, there are three shifts.”
Batul Abdulsalam, a teacher at Mawlawi secondary school for girls in Tuz Khurmatu, told KirkukNow: “We only have 14 rooms, but we have 650 students, of which 350 get education in Kurdish.”