ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – At least 500 among the thousands of schools in the Kurdistan Region are dilapidated and in desperate need of renovation, the region’s Education Minister said during a briefing on Thursday.
“There are 500 schools and maybe more” in need of “immediate renovations” in the Kurdistan Region, Education Minister Pshtiwan Sadiq said during a press conference in Erbil.
Although the official did not mention the exact number of schools there are in the Kurdistan Region, Kurdistan 24 has previously learned there are 1,748 facilities in Sulaimani Province alone.
The total number could be close to three times that number, as high as 5,000, considering that there are three provinces in the region. This would indicate that around 10 percent of schools in the region need “immediate” repairs.
In the period that led to the rise of the Islamic State, the Kurdistan Region was struggling to meet its yearly budgetary demands, which was further strained by cuts to its share of the national budget, the lengthy battle against the terrorist organization, and a financial crisis.
The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) sees signs of recovery from the financial difficulties of the previous four years as Erbil continues to improve relations with Baghdad. A new budget law provides, though conditional, guarantees the KRG’s share of federal money.
“In the coming years, when Kurdistan Region’s [KRG] budget recovers, the government plans to provide a budget for the construction and renovations of schools,” said Sadiq, adding that it would amount to USD 1.5 billion in necessary funding.
In the meantime, however, the minister called on local contributors to help fund renovation projects in their communities.
Humanitarian groups continue to provide such assistance. Most notably, in late October, Sadiq praised the role played by Japanese organizations, which had “renovated 107 schools” in the region over the span of fifteen years, since the fall of the former regime in 2003.
Editing by Nadia Riva