21st Century Tools for Iraqi School Children: UNESCO Launches Distance Learning
Satellite TV and an online educational resource are two new tools supporting education in Iraq. UNESCO, with the support of the European Union and in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, announced the formal opening of The Iraqi educational Television (Iraqi Edu at Nile Sat) and The Iraqi Curricula Website (www.iraqicurricula.org) at a ceremony in Baghdad on Wednesday the 23rd of February, 2011.
“What make our present era remarkable are the number, variety and importance of means of communication and information in presenting information and ideas, in such easiness and high speed, in addition to the elements of suspense it carries in order to break the routine and benefit from previous experiences that contributed to the process development of the transfer of audiovisuals to the recipient” Minister of Education Dr. Mohammad Ali Tamim said in his speech.
Within The Educational TV programming, UNESCO established two TV production / broadcasting studios with a satellite transmission unit, produced 624 TV lessons, provided a total of 725 hours of externally produced TV programs for Iraqi students and produced 24 episodes of Abu Salam Family, an animated series of 24 episodes focusing attention on civic values, gender equality and human rights. In addition, UNESCO established a TV library and trained all the TV station staff each in his own specialty.
The Iraqi Curricula Website is an online resource with links to all relevant educational materials covering learning from primary to secondary schooling. Among the features of the website are resources for literacy, accelerated learning for students who have missed school and need to catch-up, along with teacher guidebooks and all of the Educational TV programs, including The Abu Salam Family series.
“Combined, the website and Educational TV, give school age children, no matter where they are in the world, an opportunity to learn. This is a commitment to learning for the children of Iraq and an investment in Iraq’s future,” said Mohamad Djelid, director of the UNESCO Iraq Office.
Since 2003, Iraq has struggled to resuscitate the education sector after years of neglect. “This commitment to education is about making a down payment on tomorrow,” said Mr. Jerzy Skuratowicz, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations, adding, “the progression is simple: education leads to opportunity, opportunity leads to progress, and progress leads to a brighter future for Iraq and the region.”
UNESCO, along with UNICEF, UN-Habitat, The World Bank and our Iraqi counterparts, has worked tirelessly to restore the reputation of the educational system that was once the most respected in the Arab world. These two resources immediately address the needs of students who have been unable to regularly attend class due to war or insecurity. The satellite TV programs have a regional footprint and by the nature of the internet, all Iraqis no matter where they live can access educational material and programs from a computer.
“The new educational TV will make the official curriculum available to everybody who has access to television. And here we are talking about almost 90 % of the population in Iraq and even more in the Diaspora.” Said Mr. Jobst von Kirchmann, EU - Head of Cooperation.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Riyad Z. Minawi, Project Manager, UNESCO – Iraq Office
Mobile: +962 (0) 776 723 402, Email: r.alminawi(at)unesco.org