Sep 20 2012
By Adel Kadhem
Azzama, September 20, 2012
The government says it is working on a new program to lure parents to send their children to school.
This year up to five million pupils joined primary schools across the country but officials say more needs to be done to have all children covered by education and reduce rate of dropouts.
A parliamentary commission looking into the matter has suggested paying each child joining primary school 30,000 dinars per month. They suggestion has turned into a draft law and has backing of both the government and many legislators.
Burhan Mohammed, a member of the parliamentary commission on education, said the sum was modest (approx.. $25) but should help with the family budget given that many Iraqi parents may have up to four children at school.
“Our ultimate aim is to have all school-age children enrolled and moreover give their parents some incentive to send them to school and encourage them to stay until they are done with their education,” Mohammed said.
He said the government has already agreed to a suggestion by the commission to provide free of charge special school uniforms to all primary school pupils across the country – a move that will help low-income parents and increase a sense of equity in schools.
Education is free in Iraq and students in low-income neighborhoods are covered by a government school feeding program where they at least get one free meal a day.
The surge in oil revenues, made possible mainly by substantial increases in oil output, has spurred Iraq to embark on setting up the roots for a social security network.
This year, Iraqi families falling with the poverty bracket, are to receive special financial grants from the surplus money the country has been earning from its oil exports.