"Educate a Child": For An Inclusive Education in Iraq
Within the framework of strengthening the partnership and coordination efforts in the field of Education, and with the aim to accelerate the progress towards achieving the "Education For All" goals and the second Millennium Development Goal of "Achieving universal primary education", the Government of Iraq and UNESCO launched with the support of the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, the "Educate a Child" initiative, a new endeavor that targets out-of-school children in Iraq.
This initiative aims to increase school enrollment rate and average of students who accomplish their primary education in the regions with the highest numbers of out-of-school children. In a first stage, the focus will be on enhancing levels of enrollment through targeting 30,000 children in four chosen governorates: Baghdad, Basra, Ninewa, and Erbil. During the second phase, this initiative will expand geographically to reach more than 150,000 children in 8 governorates.
"It is not acceptable for children to pay the heavy price of previous years of conflict", said UNESCO Office in Iraq Director Mohamed Djelid, adding that "this initiative goes far beyond improving percentages as it is one of the key foundations of social stability and sustainable development". Mr. Djelid praised the sincere commitment of the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza and its contribution in promoting education in Iraq.
Through the previous weeks, UNESCO and the Iraqi Ministry of Education worked together to set the outlines for implementing this initiative in Iraq, and agreed on a Roadmap to put it into action. Activities of this new project will be mainly based on the reengagement of out-of-school children through fighting high rates of retained students and enhance class attendance. The project will be implemented in partnership between the Iraqi Government, local authorities, UN agencies, and NGOs using participatory approaches responding to concrete local education needs. A multi-stakeholders platform both at local and central level will also be built to catalyze available resources towards achievements of Educate a Child Initiative objectives.
Launched on the margin of the "World Innovation Summit for Education" (WISE) on 13 November 2012 in Doha, Qatar, the "Educate a Child" initiative aims to support selected countries, including Iraq, overcome the challenges they face in terms of education, with an overall goal of increasing enrollment in primary levels. Implemented with the support of the Office of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, first lady of Qatar and UNESCO special envoy for basic and Higher Education, this new project brings new hope to disadvantaged Iraqi children and builds on the achievements of previous programmes conducted by UNESCO in Iraq.