Students attend Saint Abd al-Ahad primary school in Mosul Jadida neighbourhood in west Mosul. Photo: UNICEF / Anmar
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Approximately 350,000 students have returned to school in both east and west Mosul, which is bisected by the Tigris river, despite the heavy destruction and fear of unexploded bombs, especially in western Mosul where the damage is 30 times higher than the east.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared west Mosul liberated on July 10 therefore announcing the full liberation of the city from ISIS militants following months of military operations.
A UK-based education charity announced earlier this week that as many as 83 schools have reopened in west Mosul, accommodating 58,800 students.
Their World stated that damaged buildings, unexploded bombs, and overcrowding are the main problems facing the return of education to the war-torn city.
In eastern Mosul, which was liberated in late January by the Iraqi Security Forces with lesser damage to the infrastructure, the charity says that at least 336 schools are back in service providing education to 288,500 students.
“Our house has these too," Abrar, 11, told the charity as she points to the bullet holes in the door. "I like to study. School is nice," says this second grader at Farahedee School. Photo: UNICEF / Anmar
The UN's education agency UNICEF supports the majority of the reopened schools, in cooperation with Mosul’s government-funded Education Department.
Many children were deprived of education under the three-year rule of the extremist group in Mosul, especially girls.
Mohammed, who is now kept by the Iraqi forces in a camp opened for the so-called ISIS families shows signs of psychological damage. He refused to reveal his father’s name as he seemed to hate him, calling him cruel and savage.
“I was supposed to be in the secondary school now, but still I am at 4th grade. Three years have been wasted,” Mohammed said.
The Nobel peace laureate and education advocate Malala Yousafzai visited displaced Iraqi students in the Kurdistan Region this month, advocating for an improved education service for every boy and girl in the country.
She met with senior Kurdish and Iraqi officials, including Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani.