Universities


Iraqi Students look Abroad for Post-Grad Studies

By Sara al-Qaher for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

India, Iran or Turkey: Iraqi Students look Abroad for Post-Grad Studies

There are no easy options for Iraqi graduates who want to continue their education with post-graduate studies.

If they have good grades, they may try to obtain one of the few free spots at a public university in the country. If their grades are not good enough to take that path, they could try to find a private university in Iraq to attend or opt to study abroad, which could be cheaper.

Given this situation, a growing number of post-graduate students are choosing to leave Iraq, bound for neighboring countries or India, where numerous post-graduate programs are taught in English.

Click here to read the full story.

IBBC and Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education sign MoU

Iraq Britain Business Council and Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research sign Memorandum of Understanding

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Iraq’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research at the IBBC Cumberland Lodge Retreat on 7 July.

The memorandum was signed by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne, President of IBBC and H.E. Dr Abdul Razzaq Al-Issa, Iraqi Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The singing was supported and witnessed by Ambassador Jon Wilks CMG, Her Majesty’s A mbassador to the Republic of Iraq and Dr Nahi Al-Rikabi, the Iraqi Cultural Attaché to London.

The memorandum details the commitment of both parties to work together in a constructive and progressive way to further enhance links between Iraqi and UK institutions of higher education.

The partnership is a further boost to the IBBC’s efforts to support initiatives between UK universities and Iraqi institutions of higher education.

IBBC has three British Universities within the council; Bath Spa University, University of Northampton and University of Leicester, who are all active within Iraq and aiming to increase their activities in the country. Mosul University has also recently joined the Council as IBBC continue to expand its Education & Heritage Sector Table.

(Source: IBBC)

New American University to be at Water Palace

By John Lee.

Al Faw Palace has reportedly been selected as the location for the new American University of Iraq – Baghdad (AUIB).

The complex was originally built by Saddam Hussein, then used by the US-led coalition as a camp following the invasion.

The new university is scheduled to open in September 2018, and will house a College of Law, College of Medicine, College of Arts and Sciences, and College of Business.

More here from Rudaw.

Iraq Britain Business Council welcomes 3 New Members

By John Lee.

The Iraq Britain Business Council (IBBC) has welcomed three new members, bringing its membership to 59 companies.

Menzies Aviation: An independent, time-critical logistics specialist serving the airline industry to the highest standards. At more than 200 airport locations across 6 continents, Menzies offer landside and airside services tailored to customers’ needs; timed to their schedules; and delivered by teams with the knowledge, tools and passion to set standards rather than chase them.

XReach: A leading supplier of mobile communications and cyber security solutions to businesses, government, military and law enforcement agencies. It employs high-end system, network and coding development personnel sourced from specialist UK military and government cyber security backgrounds.

The University of Leicester: A leading university committed to international excellence, world-changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. The University celebrates diversity amongst staff and students; widening participation in higher education and engaging with local, national and international communities.

(Source: IBBC)

Iranian Universities enter Iraq

By Zep Kalb for Al-Monitor. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iran Business News.

In the aftermath of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country’s educational system all but collapsed. Illiteracy rates have exploded. Universities have turned into sectarian battlegrounds.

Systemic violence — including beatings, rape and death threats — has forced students and faculty out of campuses. As state provision of higher education has receded, private donors have set up alternative institutions, often with a sectarian and religious twist. Foreign actors have also stepped in to fill the void.

Before the US-led invasion, education indicators in oil-rich, Baathist-controlled Iraq improved similarly as in other middle-income countries, and in several ways even more so. The country’s first university, Baghdad University, opened its doors in 1957. In 1968, the government made education free and compulsory at all levels.

In 1977, the eradication of illiteracy was made legally binding. The developmental push appeared to be working. By 1980, Iraq had already achieved near universal primary school enrollment.

Saddam Hussein’s devastating eight-year war with Iran in the 1980s and the sanctions imposed by the West over his invasion of Kuwait in the 1990s slowed these gains.

By 2000, the literacy rate of youth aged 15-24 years old stood at 84.8%, slightly higher than that of regional neighbor Egypt. The gender gap was also narrowing: Female literacy rates stood at 80.5% in 2000, a figure Egypt reached only in 2006. At the same time, underinvestment in education by a cash-strapped government led to an aged and creaking infrastructure.

For all its ills, the collapse of the Baathist regime in 2003 and its replacement with a US-installed government wrecked the country’s educational system. Junior, inexperienced American officers who failed to understand the complexities of maintaining peace between the sects were put in charge of higher education.

Academic says Visiting Iraq caused Problems entering US

By John Lee.

A British academic has said that visiting Iraq has caused him to have problems entering the United States.

Writing in Times Higher Education, Nick Petford, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Northampton, said:

My forays [into Iraq] have not been without consequence. In March this year I fell foul of Donald Trump’s travel restrictions from Middle Eastern countries that included Iraq. On a trip to Miami, I was pulled out of the immigration queue by Homeland Security, held for five hours and questioned twice about why I had been to “Syria”.

“My UK ESTA travel authorisation was revoked and replaced by a temporary visa, probably because more paperwork was needed to kick me out than let me in. Whether I’ll be allowed back into the US any time soon is yet to be resolved.

But he says that this experience won’t stop him travelling to Iraq again. “Our rationale for working there and in other challenging territories is simple,” he adds.

Our mission requires it, and frankly the Iraqi people deserve our support given the UK’s historically interventionist stance. One area that we intend to focus on more with our Iraqi partners is healthcare. Another is MBA provision. There are also research opportunities that include exchange visits between staff and students.”

Nick Petford’s full article can be read here.

(Source: Times Higher Education)

American Corner opened in University of Kurdistan Hewler

The Head of the KRG Department of Foreign Relations, Falah Mustafa, attended the opening ceremony of the American Corner in the University of Kurdistan Hewler (UKH) in Erbil.

The American corner will focus on promoting education in the host community, student exchange programs between the Kurdistan Region and the United States, providing electronic databases and promoting American culture.

The event was also attended by United States Consul General in Erbil Ken Gross, Head of the EU office Clarisse Pásztory, UKH Vice Chancellor and a number of officials and representatives of the United Nations, local and international organizations.

In a speech on the occasion, Minister Mustafa appreciated this step and stressed on the importance of expanding cultural and educational bridges and ties between the Kurdistan Region and the United States. The Head of DFR said:

“This is a meaningful contribution of the United States, which has been a partner and ally to the people of Kurdistan Region”.

(Source: KRG)

KRG needs Investors for 2 New Universities

By John Lee.

The Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research has requested proposals from investors interested in setting up two new private universities.

One university will be in Erbil, and one in Sulaymaniya.

Proposal should be sent to the Ministry HQ by 11th November, 2016.

More information here.

(Source: KRG)

KRG plans to Reform Education to Fight Extremism

By Ibrahim Malazada for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

On Sept. 22 and 23, the Dwryan Organization held its second conference in Sulaimaniyah with the participation of researchers and specialists in the field of education. The conference focused on the need to reform the curriculum on two levels.

The first is by replacing the curriculum with a more balanced, civil one. The second is by changing purely religious texts to ones that are closer to the spirit of the age, focusing on peaceful coexistence with nonviolent societal components, in addition to closing some religious schools and replacing them with more moderate schools.

During the 2015/2016 academic year, 39 schools, six institutes and 5,000 students were transferred from the Ministry of Religious Endowments to the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research or to the Ministry of Education. But there are still traditional religious schools, called “hojra” in Kurdish vernacular.

Those belong to the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Mariwan Naqshbandi, the ministry’s public relations officer, told Al-Monitor, “There are still 100 traditional religious schools affiliated with the ministry and they comprise 570 religious students, or what they call in Kurdish ‘faqi,’ who receive lessons by clerics in the region of Kurdistan.”

Several changes have been made to the previous religious curriculum. But researcher Bahman Tahir, who teaches elementary school through high school, said that the commission tasked to change the curriculum consisted of seven men and no women, which was reflected in the curriculum’s masculine discourse.

Decline of Higher Education in Iraq continues

By Adnan Abu Zeed for Al Monitor. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News. 

The University of Kufa (pictured) declared on its website Sept. 6 that it ranked 701st among the world’s best universities, according to QS World University Rankings.

This is great news for the reputation of the country’s universities, since most Iraqi universities are not included in any global university rankings.

Nevertheless, this achievement does not mean that Iraqi universities have overcome their problems, mainly the demand of students for an improvement in the education system. The student protests in Kufa that took place March 10 subsequently spread to the north and south of the country.

On Feb. 25, students from the University of Muthanna in Samawah, al-Muthanna province, banned then-Minister of Higher Education Hussein al-Shahristani from entering the campus, as they believed he had failed to improve tertiary education and provide essential academic facilities to Iraqi universities. On Aug. 30, university students in Sulaimaniyah, Iraqi Kurdistan, boycotted classes because of the lack of financial grants for students.

The education sector in Iraq has been dealt several blows; for instance, the University of Kirkuk has witnessed national and sectarian strife, which caused its Shiite Turkmen dean to resign on May 4, 2015, after the Kurds expressed objections against him.

In this regard, Nader Abdullah, a professor at the University of Babylon, told Al-Monitor that the student protests are the natural results of the ongoing crises in the country.

He said, “They reflect the dire conditions of the higher education sector; the high ranking of the University of Kufa was at a scientific research level only. Iraq’s universities lag behind the universities of the world because of low-level management and centralized decisions, which affects the knowledge product and weakens the university’s’ participation in the building of society. This is not to mention the declining academic and scientific level of the graduates.”