No contract for over 600 lecturers skipped 2019

Kirkuk Dec. 16, 2019- The first demonstration of monthly-paid lecturers calling to reveal permanently employed nominees. Photo by Karwan Slaihi

By Goran Baban

The Iraqi ministry of education excludes 613 lecturers of Kurdish education in Kirkuk from signing contract in the excuse they have skipped lecturing in 2019.

The lecturers who were teaching primary and high schools over 2016 up to 2018 in the schools using Kurdish curriculum in Kirkuk are surprised the employment of lecturers does not cover them.

Hawzhin Mustafa who served as a lecturer in 2017 and 2018 has prepared all required documents to be turned into contract-based lecturer in June.

"Once I presented my papers, supervisor of Kurdish education in directorate of education in Kirkuk said you are not included because you do not have admin order of being lecturer in 2019," Mustafa sighed for missing a long-awaited chance.

Kirkuk education figures say that 613 Kurdish lecturers teaching in the Kurdish school won't be able to sign contracts along with tens of lecturers from other communities.

The Iraqi government has decided in May to turn lecturers into contract-based, a decision covered 10,000 lecturers of Kirkuk.

Temporary lecturers whom are mainly post-graduates with diploma and bachelor degrees used to receive 1- thousand Iraqi dinars per lesson or 125,000 Iraqi Dinars IQD ($80 ) a month.

Contract-based lecturers will receive 250,000 Iraqi Dinars ($170) a month for teaching at primary and secondary schools as fixed contract-based teachers.

On the other hand, fully employed teachers receive higher salaries, minimum double, yet both entitled of almost 80% pension salary following a 15-year service.

They can apply for loans from banks and also entitled to get a subsidized plot of land to build a housing unit.

Once the government needs to hire permanent teachers, priority is for contract-based teachers not lecturers.

Others who only taught in 2019 are covered though they served less than us, what about our rights?

"Others who only taught in 2019 are covered though they served less than us, what about our rights?" Mustafa wondered.

In May, the directorate general of education in Kirkuk has decided to receive dossiers of 10,000 lecturers teaching on temporary bases in Kirkuk schools in order to be employed per contracts by the government.

The decision has been taken by the Iraqi government under 2021 budget and the process to start officially in Kirkuk on May 23rd.

In Kirkuk schools for Kurdish education, 900 lecturers will be turned into contract-based lecturers.

"Directorate of Education and the officials should support us. It is not fair to deprive us of our rights for not teaching in 2019," said Dilan Jum'a, a lecturer, married and has kids.

Teachers used to attend schools four hours a day on average ahead of Covid-19 pandemic which brought in online education for the first time in the history of education in Iraq.

Iraq’s education infrastructure is in ruins in many parts of the country; one in every two schools is damaged and needs rehabilitation, says a report by UNICEF about education in Iraq.

A number of schools operate in multiple shifts in an attempt to accommodate as many students as possible, squeezing the little learning time that children have.

Parwin Fateh, supervisor of Kurdish education unit in directorate of education Kirkuk said she paid a visit to Baghdad so that Iraqi ministry of education to decide employment of temporary lecturers of Kurdish education of Kirkuk officially hired by the Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

"I am putting a big pressure but Baghdad is not ready yet. We are putting continuous efforts and the director general to visit Baghdad soon," Fateh said.

A source in Kirkuk education said a delegation is in Baghdad for the issue of the excluded lecturers. A decision is to be taken this week, the source added.

Rauf Muheddin, member of the committee to hire the lecturers, said it's not fair that some served for years and skipped only 2019 to be excluded.

"We have prepared list of lecturers in 2019 and waiting for the order of Iraqi government," Fateh added.

Kurdish education unit in Kirkuk paid by the KRG are 7,751 teachers and employees teaching Kurdish curriculum to 100,000 pupils in 500 schools. The main language for education in Iraq is Arabic while in the three provinces of Kurdistan region it’s in Kurdish.

The KRG has opened special directorates for Kurdish education in the disputed territories of Kirkuk, Nineveh and Diyala which alike its Kurdish counterparts suffer lack of budget for accurate monthly payroll and shortage of staff, curriculums and utilities.

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