Iraqi Al-Amal association (1AA) Education sector programmes until February 2007
Challenge project for education and literacy for women:
Building on IAA experience in Kurdistan for 7 years from 1997-2003, Al-Amal launched in the end of 2005 the Challenge Project, a literacy campaign among women, the programme implemented in the following governorates: (Diwanyia , Najaf , and Basra ) , the period of the program for first stage was from 6-9 months , to teach reading and writing , improving the health education and social culture for women, train them on sewing, and other hand work, and due to the demand of Najaf countryside ( specifically in Al-Qaiem district ) , a youth literacy class was opened, the classes started from March 2006 with 20 youth , who are looking forward to graduating certificate that will qualify them to apply for jobs in the governmental institutes (the certificate is one of the requirements of job applications to government institutes’ jobs).
The second stage of the programme, focused on school girls’ drop outs, preparing them to go back to school and continue their studies, by rehabilitating schools drop outs to perform general certificates exams, where 18 students from Al-Alam region in Tikrit enrolled in general school exams, 7 of the applicants, applied for intermediate school certificate, and 11 for high school certificate, many of the applicants now have enrolled in colleges and technical institutes to finish either their diplomas, university degree, or back into high school,
Literacy In Al-Najaf and Al-Dewanyia
· In the first of February of 2006, two centers in Diwanyia governorate was opened: in Al-Mahnawia and Al-Salaheia, while in Najaf governorate: AL-Qadesia and Al-Abasseia centers. In March 3rd, a class for men and women was opened in Al-Qaiem, and the teaching course continued till November. During the time frame mentioned, 14 educational topics (according to the Ministry of Education rules) were assigned for the students to finish before enrolling in the 9 months preparatory curriculum studies, in which they received training on 15 educational topics, where afterwards the students are qualified to apply for general exams, and this degree will qualify them to get a job opportunity in any government institute. After that they go through another rehabilitation with information updating and development period, which consist of 21 months, the process consists of 3 phases: each of 7 months , where students are introduced to the school curricula for ( 4th ,5th ,6th) grades including English courses, this system qualifies students to apply for primary school general exams, in addition to the technically educational process, the students were anxious to burn stages in reading and writing, targeting to obtain degrees to be qualified for jobs, according to the general economical depression that has affected Iraqis in general, and women in particular,
· The programme witnessed good coordination efforts with The Government’s Educational Institutes and departments in general, varying from governorate to another, their contribution included donation of curricula, or authorizing opening classes inside schools, or providing other facilitations, in Al-Najaf education department provided literacy classes with all curricula for all students.
· The total accepted number of students were 265 ( from both gender)
· There were very few cases of absence, due to teaching staff monitoring and restricting allowed absence days to maximum 4 days, or student will be disqualified for the programme, especially in Al-Qaiem center for men, where absentees were 26 for all centres, mostly from Al-Qaiem centre for men, due to the farming seasons, as farming is the only source of income in the area as for other studies center had few absents or leaves in spite of the hot weather and electricity blackouts.
· About 110 women form literacy classes were trained on handicrafts ( sewing , knitting , and all other needle work skills) for 45 days, to qualify them for future income generating projects or be economically independent.
· The project gave good results on educational account, here are few highlights:
Ø Educational and knowledge branch , as students acquiring how to read and write, perform basic mathematics, in addition to .also some culture and ethical knowledge , as learning positive behavior in their social skills, amongst students and between students and teachers. Raising team work techniques between students, where the group shared donation to help one of their colleagues to pay for surgery.
Ø In addition to acquiring new skills in health, communications, community networking, and citizenship, they also gained skills on ethics as accountability of career obligations, importance of controlling their consumption, helping spouses, birth control, how to improve income.
· In the 1st of November 2006, the graduates from phase 1 of literacy started the complementary stage with 239 students, with no absentees or drop outs, upon request from students lectures per week were increased from three to four, using curricula of Arabic language conversation and reading, mathematics, Islamic studies, as for health care we depended on safe health habits table, to help students with acquiring good health habits. By showing practical living applications, as for social awareness course, the programme did not only concern on awareness, but the programme was arranged especially to rehabilitate country women socially, economically, politically, and on health issues, this awareness process was delivered throughout the teaching process, with an evaluation for each step the students go through about what they learn. In a smooth coordination between the educational department, Ministry of Education assigned inspector and the management of the project, the graduates’ certificates were signed jointly by the educational department and IAA, the certificates were delivered to the beneficiaries in an Educational meeting ceremony, held on February 19th 2007, as this coordination effort between the ministry and the IAA developed in the process, the Department promised curricula for advance teaching classes for older students,
· By the mid of May 2006, Noor One centre was opened in Bad’a Aswad as one classs in Al-Ajial primary school, and Noor Two centre in Algadeer District, where four classes were opened in Maria the Coptic High school,
· The opening attended by Director of Educational Inspection department in Kerbala, the representative of the Teachers association, and several civil society organizations.
· The Teachers’ Association took the responsibility of obtaining all necessary approvals from education department in Kerbala,
· Director of General Education in Kerbala Education Department sent a letter to IAA, commending the initiative for opening a literacy centre in Kerbala,
· The local city councils showed support and cooperation with the project, expressing will to sustain the work of the Association and the future continues of the work in the region
· The education department provided the project with curricula for 1st and 2nd grades and appointed educational inspectors to monitor the progress of the project,
· Total female students 130 in Noor 1st centre (Bad’a Aswad) 29 students, Noor Centre 2 in AlGhadeer District 101 students
· Absence rate was about 20 students, due to tribal traditions, and bad economic and security situation
· There was always meeting with the students, to improve their communications with the management and identifying their problems
· Opening training courses to teach women handicrafts, with cooperation of youth and sport department in Kerbala,
· Giving lectures on human rights and citizenship to the students
· Suggesting that importance of raising teaching staff computer skills, human rights awareness, social awareness, women rights
· A sewing workshop took place in 19-20th February 2007 for Noor 1 and 2 centres,
· In 23-24th February 2007 the students took their tests and we notice high improvement for students in both centres
· The educational inspector gave his report on his field visit to the centres evaluating the students situations and teachers positively, and the students reading and writing skills in short time and hand work and the improvement in their social and health awareness, and their active interaction during classes,
With the cooperation of Al-FERDOS local NGO in Basra, Literacy campaign started in Basra:
· In the beginning of July 2006, 6 centres were opened as 11 class in the following areas: (al-hartha, al-magdeia, al-resala Neighborhood, al-lateif Neighborhood, the cultural centre, al-hussain Neighborhood: Block 3 and 4). Fixed number of students is 398, absence rate is 3% from total due to deteriorating living conditions
· Curricula for older category teaching were used for teaching reading, writing, and mathematics, use some subject from 1st grades , the primary reading book (AlKhaldooniya), in teaching students Arabic letters and spelling , IAA had to make copies of all books because of the shortage in the education department stores. Plus Islamic education and health care on vaccination dates and importance, some first aid courses and needles injections
· Clothes simple designing and sewing in workshops in Al-haretha, al-hussain Neighborhood for 2 consecutive months
· For October, sessions took place to identify the major problems preventing the girls from finishing their education
· One of the positive signs is the great demand of students on learning with no certain limits, and anxiously to acquiring knowledge’s and more information’s, Few of them demanded an English courses, while continuing Arabic grammars teaching for 2nd stage, in addition to increasing sewing, healthcare and social classes, not only for curricula children but to elderly curricula with suggestion from educational inspectors to open such centres in both Aljazera and Shat Alarab areas,
· Suggestions from Alfrdoss NGO is to give hand writing classes , due to the poor hand writing for most students
·In December we started oral and written exams
· In 28 December, the exams results. Graduation started, for those who finished 6 months, with representatives from several associations and organizations
In the last Semester of 2006, IAA communicated with one of the main educational department in Baghdad: Rasafa 1st , for literacy classes in Camp Sarah area in Baghdad, two classes were authorized to open in one of the Camp Sarah local schools, the launch of project requires additional funds support in 2007
REHABILATION PROGRAM FOR FINSHING GENERAL EXAMS
In Al-Alam district /Saladdin governorate
In partnership with UNIFEM, IAA started a pioneering project to rehabilitate women and girls to finish their general exams after they drop out from high schools and intermediate schools
With this project, the IAA was able to enter a forbidden area that carries a lot of reservations related to an NGO working in this dimension, but the project was a great success among the local community, this success was clear from the large number of girls and women participating in it.
· In 1st of December 2005, 67 students join the project, 15 students from final High school/ arts and science branches, 52 from ninth grade in the intermediate school
· They work for 12 hours a week, for 3 days per week, for 5 months, till final exams started in June 6th , we found special obligation for teaching faculty to fill from working hours, attendance, finishing all curricula on time, quite a welcome gesture amongst students
· In addition to teaching books IAA also distributed full stationary and clothes to students, as a bonus to attend,with transportation fees for those who live far way
· In June 15th, IAA arranged for an enhancement workshop for weak students in mathematics, English, Arabic, for 2 hours daily for 6 days per week till second final exams started
· The students had some obstacles, one of them is age as 9 students were denied the right to enter preparatory exams because of their young age in the exams that took place on the 8th of March 2006, 7 students passed the intermediate general examo, 12 high school class, failure detected for intermediate class for administrative reasons (variation of ages of participants, long drop out times between 8-26 years, short teaching period …)
Ministry reasons (age restrictions, hard and professional question) security reasons: ( bad security, arm conflicts, tribal conflicts)
- All students passed the ministry examination for mid classes as 7 students , 3 enter high school , studying right now in al-alam district high school , other 4 listed for teachers institute in Tikrit,
- 11 students passed high school finals, except one who failed, 5 were accepted in Tikrit college of education in departments: English, history, Arabic, religion, 3 graduates admitted to Business and Management Institute in Aldoor district, the other three were accepted in Management school in Kirkuk Governorate, where they couldn’t attend because of the security and financial situation, with one year delay to finish, two of the graduates found jobs as clerks in two schools in AlAlam,
1.Planning for such projects for enough period time before school year,
2.Promoting the project should take different forms, especially before the school year starts,
3.Announcing on the project on different methods before school year:
- Participant must not exceed 30 years
- Has no more than 10 years drop out
- Not to accept applicants who have not passed 8th grade Intermediate class, 10th grade high school class
- Inspecting the reason behind dropping out in the first place
4.Forming a teaching committee to evaluated the applications on certain criteria,
- Taking a written commitment from students registered at the notary public,
6.Starting classes from November
Major problems IAA faced in teaching women program:
· IAA depended on its own financial sources to sponsor literacy classes and handicrafts training workshops
· The domination of clergymen, and spreading of religious ideas from few officials in education and institutes in the governorates,
· The role of tradition and community tradition, economical depression, curbed women from being able to finish their schools,
· Some governmental institutes create and put obstacles on the association work or delay any approvals required.