12th grade students from Shingal and the Nineveh Plain will be reimbursed for travel and lodging costs for their trip to Duhok to take part in the baccalaureate exams (national curriculum exams for 12th graders meant for gaining access to higher education). KRG previously had no intentions to reimburse the students.
Earlier this month, in a report by KirkukNow a number of students expressed their grievances about a decision by KRG’s Ministry of Education to not send the exam questions to Shingal district.
The students thought the decision was very unfair because on top of being obliged to travel to Duhok, they would have to pay for the costs themselves.
We were made aware that the issue is resolved and KRG will reimburse us for the travel and lodging costs. We will not be paying anything out of our pockets
Ibrahim Sa’eed, a 12th grade student from Snuni in Shingal, told KirkukNow: “We were made aware that the issue is resolved and KRG will reimburse us for the travel and lodging costs. We will not be paying anything out of our pockets.”
The travel and lodging costs for one student is at least around $340, a sum which many students said can not afford to pay.
Maysar haji-Salih, director of Shingal Department of Education (which is based in Duhok), told KirkukNow: “After our hard efforts and pleading with KRG officials, thankfully the prime minister instructed both the Education Ministry and Duhok administration to pay in full the costs for 12th grade students who will be travelling from Shingal and Nineveh area to Duhok to do their exams.”
There are 400 students from Shingal alone who will be travelling to Duhok for the exams.
Due to the travel and lodging costs, previously I wasn’t sure if I was going to Duhok to take part in the exams
Ibrahim, the student from Snuni, said: “A number of hotels are made available. We will be staying at those until the exams are done. On this, we would like to thank media outlets that helped convey our voice. Due to the travel and lodging costs, previously I wasn’t sure if I was going to Duhok to take part in the exams.”
KRG’s Ministry of Education claims that the reason for their refusal to send the exams is that they fear they will be leaked.
Maysar haji-Salih explained that as the first step, a group of 180 female students were brought to Duhok, and that in the coming days the other students will be brought there as well. He said that KRG’s help will be good for the student’s mental comfort and their participation in the exams.
560 students from Shingal and other regions in Nineveh will be participating in the 12th grade exams, which is planned to be held on 11 July.