Iraq’s school system, reportedly once one of the finest in the Middle East, is wracked with violence and disrepair following the sanctions imposed under Saddam Hussein’s regime and the sectarian violence that followed his downfall.
Children are regularly kidnapped for ransom and about 600 teachers were killed last year, according to the Ministry of Education.
In Baghdad, daily violence disrupts classes and parents are pulling their children out of school to be tutored at home, according to the Institute for War and Peace Reporting.
UNICEF estimates that 800,000 students, 63 percent of them girls, did not attend school in 2005-2006.
Sectarian graffiti covers school walls and classrooms have become divided by sect, with Sunni teachers separated from Shia teachers.
Students no longer respect authority, but teachers are afraid to discipline those who misbehave because of fears that their parents might “come after them.”
“Violence batters Baghdad schools”
Institute for War and Peace Reporting, August 30, 2007