Iraqi Schoolchildren: 5 Years of War

Iraqi school boys sit on benches during the opening ceremony of their newly renovated school in Wahida, about 20 miles southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, on March 11, 2008. Local officials and Coalition forces coordinated in rebuilding the school and a clinic.
—Petros Giannakouris/AP

Five years ago this month, a U.S.-led coalition of troops invaded Iraq. Since the invasion, Mary Ann Zehr, an assistant editor at Education Week, has reported on the U.S. government's involvement in education reform in that country and Washington's eventual decision in June 2006 to withdraw financial support for Iraq's schools. Her reporting has included interviews with Iraqi education officials, teachers, students, and parents, as well as U.S. officials and others involved with the schooling of Iraqi children. Recently, Ms. Zehr traveled to Amman, Jordan, to see how displaced Iraqi children were faring.

March 5, 2008 War, displacement, and lack of money have prevented Iraqi children from going to school for lengthy stretches of time. They have more opportunities now, but little help in catching up.

March 5, 2008 It's difficult to know the overall status of schooling in Iraq.

March 5, 2008  Many Iraqi parents haven’t enrolled their children in Jordanian schools because they soon expect to be resettled in another country.

March 21, 2007 The company hired by the U.S. Agency for International Development to help Iraq improve its schools wrapped up its contract in that country without having completed some tasks it was charged with carrying out, according to an audit report by the USAID’s office of inspector general.

August 30, 2006 The U.S. Agency for International Development ended its support of the Iraqi education sector in June 2006, according to USAID officials and a July report to Congress.

January 12, 2005 Eleven teenagers from Iraq have been living with American families and going to school in the United States this school year as part of the U.S. government’s resumption of education and cultural ties with that country.

April 14, 2004 A year after a U.S.-led coalition took charge of rebuilding the school system in Iraq, the country’s Ministry of Education now has the freedom to call the shots.

November 5, 2004 The new Iraqi minister of education is concentrating on the challenges ahead.

June 11, 2003 The role that religion will play in postwar Iraq is a potential political powder keg for U.S. companies and nonprofit organizations charged with remaking primary and secondary schools there, as well as for the Bush administration and the government that emerges from the United States-led occupation.

April 16, 2003 As American forces were taking control of Baghdad last week, officials in the United States began putting into place the building blocks of a new campaign: restructuring the Iraqi school system.
The United States and the international community need to make the education of Iraqi children a higher priority, the actress and refugee advocate said April 8 at a panel discussion sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations.
April 9, 2008 - Education Week

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