UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
IRAQ: Salaries increased to improve education
BAGHDAD, 22 June 2005 (IRIN) - Salaries have been increased and in some cases have doubled for university lecturers in Iraq in an effort to improve the dilapidated education system and encourage academics to return to the country to resume work.
The Ministry of Higher Education (MoHE) said the new salaries would be effective from July.
“The salaries are going to be increased according to the teacher’s graduation degree, their title and position taken at the university. We expect that this move will be welcomed,” Sami al-Mudaffer, Minister of Higher Education, told IRIN in Baghdad.
The increase, from US $200 to $400 per month, was made to stem the academic brain drain to try and keep teachers and lecturers in the country. Huge numbers of qualified and experienced education professionals have already left Iraq following the war in 2003 and as a result of previous conflicts.
There are no accurate statistics on how many remain but officials say that this, coupled with insecurity, has had a devastating effect on the country’s education system.
The MoHE hopes the new pay scales will encourage those who have left decide to be a part of educating the new generation and future of Iraq. Farhan Qussey, a senior official in the MoHE, said that there had already been a positive response.
“We have started to receive information that some professors who were aboard have contacted our ministry and are asking about the possibility of returning to work,” Qussey explained.
Iraqi universities have been suffering from a lack of experienced professionals. In addition to the exodus, a growing number of teachers have been targeted by insurgents and have been killed or kidnapped.
The insurgents have declared this to be their way of protesting against the new government and halting progress in the country.
News of the salary increases was welcomed by university teachers.
“For the first time, the Iraqi government is making a valuable contribution towards university professionals. I believe that it will even increase motivation in our work and I’m really very happy about that,” Dr Mayada Hassan, a teacher of medicine at the Mustansirya University in Baghdad said.
“I arrived this week from Jordan after the news that the government will increase our salaries. It’s a good opportunity for us to be well paid for our work and we don’t have to search for better jobs outside Iraq,” Professor Ziad Tarek said.
Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Education
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