ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi teachers on Sunday morning began a two-day strike, demanding improved living standards for staff as well as curricular reform.
At the request of the Iraqi Teachers’ Union, provincial governments of the country agreed to count Sunday and Monday as vacation days for pupils and teachers.
The country’s teachers have long complained about the deterioration of the quality of education.
Dozens of primary and secondary school teachers gathered in front of local Teachers’ Union offices and flew banners calling for reform in the education system. The teachers also demanded housing, a privilege they claim is given to other civil servants.
In a statement on the event, the Teachers’ Union said Iraq still houses students from parts of the country in facilities made using mud, which makes for a structurally unsound building, as, at times, their roofs cave in due to heavy rainfalls.
Another issue the union addressed was the inadequate number of schools, so much so that some areas have been forced to increase the number of shifts of students, which is an increase by one and limits the number of hours children can spend learning.
The strike was a “warning message” to politicians to correct the “failure” of the educational system, the head of the Teachers’ Union, Abbas Kadhim al-Sudani, said in a statement.
Sudani said that over 750,000 teachers would participate in the strike in all of Iraq except the Kurdistan Region.
Many officials have reportedly expressed their support for the concerns and demands of the strikers.
Ajyal Moussawi, a lawmaker on the Education Committee, stated that the Iraqi government, especially the Ministry of Education, must “seriously deal” with the demands of teachers.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany