After 20 years, Lamia’ goes back to school, finishes elementary school and vows to go to college

Kirkuk, 2019 – inside one of the learning centres for the elimination of illetracy – Photo: KirkukNow

Karwan Salehi - Kirkuk

After 20 years being cut off from education, Lamia’ decides to go back to school despite being a housewife and having to care for her three children. She succeeds and gains the first place in Iraq.

Lamia’ Hasan (35) quit going to school at a young age, when she was in the 4th grade in 1996, due to personal circumstances.

“I’ve been a housewife, and when I saw other people’s eagerness to get an education, I promised myself to go back to school and start over,” Lamia’ told KirkukNow.

In 2016, with the help of her husband, she starts over from scratch and attends 1st grade classes.

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Kirkuk, 2020 – Kirkuk Interim Governor Rakan Saeed al-Jubouri give an award to Lamia’ – Photo: KirkukNow

“At the Isra’ school in Kirkuk, designated for the elimination of illiteracy, I started from the 1st grade and finished elementary school in four years.”

Lamia’ scored the highest among those attending illiteracy elimination classes in all of Iraq for the school year 2019-2020.

Sahar Azzawi, spokeswoman for the illiteracy elimination program in Kirkuk, told KirkukNow: “On top scoring the highest in Iraq, Lamia’ gained the first place for economic and social studies at the Fifth Arab Festival, which is held annually for graduate of illiteracy elimination programmes.”

The festival is for Arab countries and is held annually in Egypt, but this year it was held online due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

I supported and encouraged her to go back to school

Firas Adnan, the husband of Lamia’, said: “When I realized that she wanted it, I supported and encouraged her to go back to school. I would tell her that those who study and get degrees are not more special than her. She then decided to go back to school.”

Firas himself is a high-school graduate. He said that he provided a car for Lamia’ to use it for going to school.

With the illiteracy elimination programme, students can finish the six grades of elementary school in four years. And like regular education, at the end of the 6th grade, they take part in nation-wide exams.

In Kirkuk Province, the programme has 229 centres of learning, where 22,606 students get an education.

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Kirkuk, 2019 - one of the learning centres for the elimination of illetracy – Photo: KirkukNow

According to Azzawi, a bigger number of students is expected this year.

There is no age restriction for those wanting to attend the programme. The studen’t ages range between 15 to 70. They attend classes three days a week (on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays), two hours a day. They can get classes in Arabic, Kurdish and Turkmen.

Next to the regular education programme, the students get a chance to learn a craft.

Lamia’ followed a course for learning sewing. Beside finishing elementary school, she was able to open a salon in her house.

“I will not give and continue learning; I am planning to finish high-school and then get a bachelor's degree in college,” Lamia’ said.

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Kirkuk, 2019 – txtbooks of the illiteracy elimination programme – Photo: KirkukNow
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