The Education System in Iraq: An Overview

After being the center of the “Islamic Golden Age” in the ninth century, Baghdad and the area that is the modern state of Iraq came under the control of various groups, including the Ottoman Empire from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The country of Iraq came into being at the end of World War I, with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire. After more than a decade of British control, which ended in 1933, the Kingdom of Iraq was established. Following a coup d’état and overthrow of the monarchy, Iraq become a republic. The country came under control of the Ba’ath Party in 1963 and Saddam Hussein in 1979. Hussein’s rule encompassed a lengthy war with Iran, and ended in 2003 with the U.S. invasion. Since then, the country has been marked by sectarian divisions (99 percent of the population is Muslim, with approximately two-thirds Shi’a and one-third Sunni). During this period, the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was established, and large sections of the country have fallen under the control of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

The Republic of Iraq has a strong educational tradition. Education is free at all levels and compulsory through the six years of primary education. Iraq is notable for its commitment to educating girls and women, which contributes to its overall literacy rate of nearly 80 percent. The language of instruction is Arabic; but English is used in medicine and engineering faculties, and Kurdish is being promoted in the Iraqi Kurdistan region. The academic year runs from September to June, with final examinations taking place in June and supplementary examinations in September. Official documentation is issued in both Arabic and English; ministerial and institutional websites typically have versions in both languages.... to read the rest of this article by Margaret Wenger, Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. visit IEM Spotlight Newsletter, Vol. 13, Issue 2 - August 2016



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