842 Shingali Students cannot Take Final Exams Home

Grade twelve students of Shingal high schools receiving dorms of Duhok University, Duhok, June 2024. Laith Hussein

By Laith Hussein

The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has refused to send the final tests of the 12th high school examinations to Shingal (Sinjar) which the Iraqi Security Forces ISF control and its schools are supervised by the Iraqi Ministry of Education, forcing 842 students to stay in Duhok Northern Province.

The problem has not been resolved since the opening of Kurdish schools after the war against ISIS in 2015, while (Sunday, June 23) is the first day of the 12th-grade examinations in schools under the KRG Ministry of Education.

Rawa Khidir, a 12th-grade high school student from the Borka community of war-torn Shingal, said examination halls are prepared for them in Duhok and they have been informed that they must take the examination there.

“If we had been at home, the studying environment would have been better... Now four students share one room, which has made the studying environment inconvenient,” Khidir added.

There are more than 600,000 Internally Displaced People IDPs in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR, some of whom are staying in 26 camps, mostly non-Muslim Ezidis (Yazidis) and Muslim-Sunni Arabs from Nineveh, according to the KRG figures.

Schools in Shingal were destroyed during the rule of ISIS (2014-2015) and most of them were demolished. All the teachers and students were displaced, but with the recapture of the area and the return of some families, the education process resumed in the district. However, many are still studying in IDP camps.

If we were at home, the studying environment would be better

Shingal, located 120 km west of Mosul and administratively part of Nineveh province, is a disputed area between the Iraqi federal governments and the Erbil-based KRG.

The schools in Shingal are divided between Baghdad and Erbil’s Ministries of Education.

"The internal department of Duhok University has been provided for all students in grade 12," the education department said in a statement.

"We spent more than 10 hours in the sun to get a room," Arkan Haider, a student in the same class, told KirkukNow on Saturday.

In the past two days, the director of education in Shingal did not respond to Kirkuk Naw's calls about the reasons for canceling exams in Shingal.

Last year when there was the same problem, he stressed that “they were afraid of leaking questions, especially by those forces and checkpoints not under the KRG. Therefore, they are not ready to take the exams to Sinjar.”

In general, public schools of Shingal district suffer from a lack of buildings, budgets, and teaching staff, and part of this problem started when the Iraqi government stopped employment for all sectors including education leaving schools in need of new teachers.

Education like other public sectors is divided between Baghdad and Erbil as schools sponsored by Baghdad study Arabic curriculum while those funded by the KRG are in Kurdish.

In Shingal district, 50,000 male and female students attend the Arabic studies department, including students who are still displaced, compared to 30,000 students in Kurdish schools, according to Shingal Education statistics.

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