Under the rule of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (2006-14), $150 million was allocated to the construction and development of public schools in several Iraqi areas. Yet only 6% of the project was implemented.
As a result, there is a significant shortfall in the number of school buildings, while classrooms are extremely packed and overcrowded. The Ministry of Education announced on Sept. 16, 2015, that Iraq is in need of about 9,000 new schools, given the overcrowded classrooms that negatively affect the educational process.
In the same vein, on Nov. 4, 2015, an Iraqi citizen staged a two-day sit-in in Karam al-Bari primary school in northern Dhi Qar province, south of Baghdad, protesting the large number of students, which exceeds 60, in the same classroom.
Majed Fadel, a professor from Babil, told Al-Monitor, “Given the large number of students in the same classroom, the teaching process and conveying the message to all students have become a difficult task to achieve, as not all of them would be focused on what the teachers are saying.”
He added “This is not to mention that in packed classrooms, diseases and infections are easily transmitted among the students. Things get worse with the scorching heat as temperatures hit around 50 degrees Celsius [122 degrees Fahrenheit] in the absence of ventilation or air-conditioning systems in classrooms.”
Al-Monitor also met with Saad Hassan, 10, from Babil, who dropped out of school and is now working as a peddler in a large market in Hillah. “I left school because the classroom was packed with students and I could not grasp anything of the lessons. The teachers did not pay me any attention because there were so many students in the class. Sometimes I would skip school and no one would notice,” he said.
The poor and imbalanced educational process has pushed some parents to enroll their children in private schools.