Kurdistan announces year's end for higher education; no final exams
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Kurdistan Region's Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research announced the end of the school year on Tuesday for universities and colleges in the region as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Minister Aram Mohammed said in a speech that there would be no final exams and that students' grades from months before schools were vacated to stop the spread of the disease would count for the whole year.
The decision came following speculation regarding the unsure fate of students' grade point averages as a result of being sent home in late February as part of preventive anti-coronavirus measures enacted by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), along with strict curfews and travel restrictions.
The minister explained that the materials that were not covered due to the suspension of classes will be covered as part of the curriculum in the next study year, adding that students who failed the first term or students who are aiming to raise their grades will be given the opportunity to do so by preparing an academic report in their failed courses to be assessed by their professors and lecturers to determine if they passed or not.
Mohammed added that medical and dentistry students will still be sent to hospitals for internships and other practical training to then be assessed on performance and doctoral and other graduate candidates will be able to continue their studies in accordance with previous decisions by completing their curricula online.
Starting from the end of February, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has enacted multiple, strict, precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the disease.
The Kurdistan Region's Health Ministry has so far confirmed a total of 507 coronavirus cases, including five dead and 403 who have recovered.
On Monday, a spokesperson for the federal Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Baghdad said in a statement on Monday that final exams for universities and colleges would begin on June 14 via an online platform. Per Tuesday's announcement, institutions in the Kurdistan Region will not be taking part in this program.
According to the spokesperson, COVID-19 preventive measures and previous anti-corruption protests in Iraqi multiple provinces have delayed graduation for nearly 150,000 Iraqi students in Spring 2020.
The coronavirus has infected over 5.5 million people worldwide and killed nearly 350,000, according to government-reported data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The actual figures could be dramatically higher due to insufficient testing capabilities or underreporting.
Editing by John J. Catherine