It seems that education in Iraq is definitely flourishing. After opening the first International Office in Iraq recently, the government has moved on to making a bigger success. I just laid my eyes on the long-awaited news about the Iraqi government investing in the field of education. This article has actually made my day as it marks the actual beginning of the new renaissance of the Iraqi youth and in the same time, Iraq itself. Iraq was one of the Middle Eastern Pioneers in embracing some of the most prestigious universities back in the past century. Iraq, after gaining its independence from the British, assertively used its relations with the developed west to build an educational system that rivaled many other excellent educational institutions and put its graduates in auspicious positions.
Further, the Iraqi government would use its resources to fund scholarships for qualified Iraqis to study in Western Europe to acquire the up-to-date knowledge in their fields of study and then come back to Iraq and implement those skills in the Iraqi society. This endeavor has contributed to creating one the biggest, educated middle-classes in the Middle East by the end of the 1970's.
The question is what happened to all of those people? Well, to begin with, most of them left Iraq as the Baath-party took a major control of the country. It was the norm that if you don't become a Baathist, it would be very hard to advance in your career or even sometimes find a job.
Some of them were unfortunately killed due to their political beliefs. We all anticipated the return of this elite after 2003, but the instability has contributed to their continuing diaspora.
Nevertheless, we had better now think about the present and future of Iraq and think of new means to improve it. And the Iraqi government, among its current successful initiatives, committed itself to sending 10 000 Iraqi students to universities in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the UK, starting with 500-600 students for the 2009-2010 scholastic year. This is hopefully going to serve as the key to renovating an educational system that is more than 25 years old, along with bringing up a learned people that can better rule itself and lead its country towards a promising future.
Just like any other new project, one might have some questions about it. Although the Ministries of Education and Higher Education have not yet declared the selection criteria and the selection process, there is a high chance that they are going to run into the problem of finding the required number of academically-competent students each year. Unless they implement some sort of an ESL program prior to college enrollment, this should no longer be an issue. And yet, the eternal problem of connections in Iraq might contribute to some undeserving students ending up in the scholarship. Fortunately, the big number of required students vilifies this problem as there is a place for many other qualified students.
Another concern might arise as the current situation in Iraq doesn't encourage many skilled people to go back to it after they finish studying in those developed countries. There definitely is some sort of procedure through which the government guarantees the students' return. Logic entails us to think objectively, and this leads us to conclude that there should be some students, regardless of the situation, that won't go back to serving Iraq. Hopefully, this would only be a minority.
In conclusion, this is a proud moment for Iraq towards getting rid of the dark past and initiating a striking future. I believe the government has just made a successful bargain in enlightening its people. As James Madison says ," Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."