Replacement of male teachers includes part of girls' schools in Kirkuk

Raad Abdullah, Acting Director General of Education in Kirkuk during a visit to an examination hall in a girls' school, Kirkuk, 2023. Media of Directorate General of Education in Kirkuk

By KirkukNow in Kirkuk

The removal and transfer of male teachers from girls' schools is for a number of schools who had problems, not all schools in Kirkuk.

The Kirkuk Directorate General of Education on August 9, 2023 decided to replace male teachers from preparatory, secondary and high schools for girls by female teachers, on the grounds of complaints and "problems" in the schools, according to a letter signed by the acting Director General of Education in Kirkuk and his deputy.

Saman Majid, deputy director general of education in Kirkuk, told KirkukNow, "As a first step, we are in favor of targeting those schools that have always had complaints and problems between some families and (male) teachers, and it will be reorganized.”

"It is not possible to withdraw all male teachers because it creates a vacuum. Several committees have been set up to reorganize the appointments in general and solve the problems in the schools," Majid added.

There is no indication in the letter of education on the basis of which law or guideline or ministerial decree the decision was issued.

However, Majid said, "The decision to withdraw the male teachers is the decision of the ministry and all institutions of the ministry must abide to it.”

More than 17,000 teachers are teaching in 1,644 primary, secondary and high schools in Kirkuk province, according to the Central Statistics Agency for 2022.

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.

Due to lack of sufficient school buildings and educational staff, 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.

There is no such thing as withdrawing all male teachers from girls' schools

Some media and social media reported that Kurdish education in Kirkuk is not ready to implement the decision of the education.

Sherzad Rashid Kaka, director of Kurdish education department in Kirkuk, told KirkukNow that the decision will apply to all without discrimination. “We met with the director of education and reached an understanding that there is no such thing as withdrawal of all male teachers. The focus is on reorganizing certain schools in both Arabic and Kurdish education departments."

"Yes, there have been problems in several schools, some of them have received complaints and committees have been formed.

Kurdish education department in Kirkuk funded by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG includes 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 Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR it’s in Kurdish.

“The content of the issue is that all men cannot and should not be withdrawn from girls' schools. We have female teachers who have been teaching in boys' schools for many years and had no problems He believed the letter had been misinterpreted,” director of Kurdish education department in Kirkuk said.

The education letter does not say whether the same decision will be taken to remove female teachers from boys' schools.

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.

The oil rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq's second largest oil reserves, is ethnically a mixed province of Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmen. It has long been at the center of disputes between Baghdad and the KRG.

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