In Iraq, Providing self-sustaining, quality education

Out of nearly a quarter of a million Syrian refugees who have fled to Iraq, approximately 60,000 refugee children have had their education disrupted in addition to having experienced violence and distress. 

Norwegian Refugee Council works to provide access to quality education for conflict affected school aged children and youth and has over the last six months built a science laboratory and facilitated the start-up of science and computer classes in three Syrian refugee camps in Iraq. 

In March 2016, the classes and laboratory were finally handed over to the Ministry of Education in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KR-I) providing self-sustaining, quality education for Syrian refugees in line with the KR-I curriculum. 

Today, over 700 students attend classes in computer technology and science every week thanks to our private donors. One of these is Syrian refugee Ahmed (15) who attends NRC’s computer classes. “Before I did not know anything about computers, but now I have learned a lot and can download programs and work on Microsoft Word,” he says. 

In addition to building a computer classroom and a science laboratory and providing all the equipment, NRC has worked in close partnership with the Ministry of Education Teacher Training Institute in KR-I to ensure that teacher trainings were provided. 

“Information and communications technology is a hobby for me and I love teaching it to the Syrian refugee students. Many have never used a computer before attending our classes. They learn a lot here which they will benefit from in the future,’ teacher Shiran who teaches 18 classes a week at the NRC built classroom says. 

Syrian Ibrahim (16) is another student attending NRC’s science laboratory classes every week. 

“It was difficult to leave my school and friends in Syria, but I like the new teacher in the camp and I have got many new friends so it all feels more normal now. With the new laboratory, I can see with my own eyes how everything works and put theory into practice. I find the topics magnetism and gravity the most interesting,” Ibrahim says. 

NRC will continue to support formal education for displaced Syrian refugees in addition to Iraqi internally displaced children in the upcoming year. The main priority for 2016 and beyond will be constructing new schools and facilitate integration of Syrian refugee children into mainstream schools in Iraq. 

by Becky Bakr Abdulla

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