UNESCO Response in Iraq

© UNESCO, Iraq, 2013

With the increasing number of Syrian refugees in Iraq, urgent challenges arise on many levels.

Around 227,000 Syrians (57.60 per cent urban-based refugees,  42.40 per cent camp-based refugees) have entered Iraq since the beginning of the turmoil, with 97 per cent concentrated in the three Northern governorates of Duhok, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah.

As part of the its response to the Syria Crisis in Iraq, UNESCO has been acknowledged as lead agency on literacy and life skills, secondary, vocational education and training and INEE training.

In order to ensure refugees’ right to education and to respond to the risk of youth falling into violence as a result of rampant unemployment and a lack of future opportunities, UNESCO Iraq is engaging the local government, international organizations, local organizations and donors to improve access to secondary and vocational education, literacy, information technology and entrepreneurial and life skills in both urban areas and camp settings.

In Iraq, UNESCO has focused on secondary school construction and rehabilitation, provision of teacher and master trainer trainings on various subjects, catch up classes for out-of-school children and youth, life and employability skills and construction of temporary learning spaces in line with INEE Minimum Standards for Education in Emergencies.

UNESCO has also been establishing Community Learning Centers to deliver lifelong learning opportunities. In these centers, youth, women and men are empowered with literacy and essential life skills: health, legal awareness, human rights, early child development sessions for parents, counseling, and non-formal vocational training to enhance livelihood capacity.

UNESCO is an active member of established coordinating mechanisms, in partnership with the regional and the national governments and with international organizations. In this regard, UNESCO has been active in advocating and supporting government counterparts in adopting an INEE approach in dealing with the crisis in the field of education and has contributed to building national stakeholder capacity to this end.

Additionally, in order to provide access to education for all Syrian Refugees, UNESCO is playing a key role in assuring the maintenance of quality standards for education in this emergency context and working closely with partners to assure accreditation and recognition of formal and nonformal education for Syrian children and adolescents .

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