Between the months of August and September, school commences across the globe. Students are packing up their belongings and waving goodbye to their parents as they are off to explore education. Children are on their way to becoming teachers, doctors, architects, lawyers- an endless amount of possibilities. One may think that having access to quality education, or even education in general, is an easy thing. However, the same cannot be said for all students in the Middle East.
As a result of the current war going on, many families, especially in Iraq, have been forced from their homes, seeking out different places to serve as temporary living conditions. Due to this, what used to only serve as a place of education, is now common living space for these families- schools. This affects not only their home lives, but also now a place where children learn to make their futures brighter. In these institutions, one single classroom holds up to four families finding shelter and comfort in there. (Assir, 2014). While one can say that schools have similar building structures to home and provide a sense of comfort, these instituitions are no longer being used as to what they were originally intended for.
“Education is life-saving. After a child has been to hell and back, education gives him or her an opportunity to go forward. Without that, the future is dim.” (Assir, 2014).
From April to June 2014, 1.2 million Iraqis have been displaced, including hundreds of thousands of young children. (“Save the Children,” 2014). Students who have been able to go back to school are receiving their education in shifts since schools have become extremely overcrowded. These circumstances have made for a lower quality of education, leaving people to wonder if that will ever be made up. Iraqi’s highly value education, even as young children. Parents have to explain to their children that they may not be returning to their institutions, and will have to seek schooling at another time. Children are devastated, parents are concerned, and futures are at stake.
“There is no school for half a million children in Northern Iraq” (“Save the Children,” 2014).
This issue imposes quite a few questions: If children cannot gain access to schooling now, when will they be able to again? Will it be too late to learn skills that needed to be taught at a young age later in life? How long will families have to seek out shelter, until they find a place they can call “home?”
Focusing on the war in general, it is sometimes easy to overlook other aspects that are being effected. Knowing that children’s lives now, and future ahead, are in great danger is extremely saddening. Everyone uses the education system to create a better life for them in the years to come, and this is unfortunately not the story for Iraqi children at this point in time. Living in America, is it considered a norm for students to complete all 12 years of school, with the majority choosing to continue on. Life without education is a hard concept for me to grasp onto, and seems practically unimaginable.
In the future, I hope that these children are able to get back what they have lost throughout their early childhood years. Being young, you don’t realize how classwork and little activities enhance your learning abilities. I hope that Iraqi children are able to obtain the same knowledge that they should have in school, and become just as successful as they could’ve been without the current education disruptions. The war is already a difficult topic for the children to understand, making it even more important that they know what else the world has to offer them.
Assir, S. (2014, September 14). Children face education emergency in Iraq. Retrieved September 28, 2014. http://www.yourmiddleeast.com/culture/children-face-education-emergency-in-iraq_26395
Iraq. (2014, June 1). Retrieved September 28, 2014, from http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6153129/k.C257/Iraq.htm