10.06.2014 - UNESCO Office for Iraq

UNESCO opens two more secondary schools for Syrian refugees in Erbil camps

UNESCO Iraq office Director (right) with government officials, and teachers during a tour in the school facilities in Kawargoesk camp © UNESCO Iraq 2014

As part of its response to the Syrian refugees' crisis in Iraq, and its help to provide decent learning opportunities for the thousands of young people in the camps, UNESCO announced today the opening of two secondary schools in Kawargosek and Darashakran camps near Erbil.

"These schools bring back hope, but also provide Syrian refugees the key knowledge for them to go home and rebuild what violence has destroyed”, stated UNESCO representative to Iraq and country office director Axel Plathe, who thanked the Kurdistan Regional Government for its special efforts in supporting education within the refugees community. Addressing the students, Mr. Plathe said “do not let the difficulties of today turn you into desperation, but let them make you stronger and more determined.”

Together, the two schools have the capacity to host over 700 students and 50 teachers. The secondary school in Darashakran consists of 9 classrooms including 3 tents and 6 prefabricated classrooms, while the school in Kawargosek consists of 8 classrooms including 6 tents and 2 prefabricated classrooms.

Following the opening of a first secondary school in Derek camp near Dohuk in March 2014, these two new schools are a part of a UNESCO initiative to reach all refugees camps in Iraq and provide psychological support and quality education to children and youth who are victims of the ongoing conflict in Syria.

Operated by UNESCO and Public Aid Organization (PAO), the schools will run summer courses where students, many of them out of school for over a year now, will be familiarized with the new school curriculum and better prepared for the next academic year starting in September 2014.

With 220,000 Syrians entering Iraq since the beginning of the turmoil, UNESCO is among a wide group of international organizations responding to the humanitarian needs of Syrian refugees in Iraq. As a lead organization in education, UNESCO is prioritizing projects and activities that aim to improve access to secondary and vocational education and training, literacy and life skills in both urban areas and camp settings.

UNESCO is currently broadening its involvement in ten camps through the establishment of additional secondary schools focusing in particular on the training of teachers, the organization of catch up classes for out-of-school children and the launch of ICT and entrepreneurship courses for youth.

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