Currently Education in the Kurdistan Region is going under huge transformations and restructuring to help rejuvenate the sector From 1991 to 2003 the education sector was in a dire situation, links with central government education system were non existent, the region was isolated, making it difficult for progressive teaching to take place. Public Institutions are working alongside private institution in an effort to raise the standard of learning in the region. Working from the grass roots of the issues has been the strategy of the KRG, re-training teachers and staff along with providing them with internationally renowned teaching practices to help cement a solid infrastructure for the future of Kurdistan.
The Kurdish people are known to enjoy key sciences such as engineering and medicine – however along with his currently opening up of more specialized courses within our institutions is taking place to create a diverse able workforce in the region, with the popularity of subjects such as Information Technology are growing as more students turn to less traditional subjects. Investment in this sector has been steady so far with $375 million being invested into 6 projects amounting to 2% of investment capital invested in Kurdistan since 2006.
In terms of primary education we have seen the emergence of private schools such as International School of Choueifat (ICS), has helped overcome the shortcomings of a lack of high quality teaching in the region. However Kurdistan is not only relying on the emergence of private school the government is investing in its future to ensure that every village, town and city has enough schools for our children’s education.
With ICS being opened in both major cities of Erbil and Sulaymaniah. Although fees are costly to enroll at the school, the government provides scholarships to the brightest students to be able to study at the school. Another school has just opened, a German based school in the capital. However the government is not only relying on foreign private schools to improve education in the region it has begun restricting the system from the bottom up, re-distributing management and administration, enhancing freedom of individual schools and areas of learning, to help create innovative and creative students.
With English being taught in many public and most private schools, other competencies such as IT, and literature ensure that our next generation will be more equipped to compete for knowledge and employment at a global level.
In Kurdistan Region there are at present some 19 state and state-recognised private higher education institutions. There are two semesters each academic year. The standard study period in which a degree programme can be completed is at least eight to ten semesters at universities.
The institutions include universities and equivalent higher education establishments such as technical universities, comprehensive universities and specialised institutions at university level (e.g. for medicine, sport, administrative studies, philosophy and theology). Only universities and equivalent institutions are entitled to confer doctorates.
There are seven universities in the Kurdistan Region. The three largest are Salahaddin University in Erbil, the University of Sulaymaniah, and the University of Dohuk. They offer studies in various subjects leading to specialized diplomas, bachelors and master’s degrees, and doctorates.
Salahaddin University was established in 1968 in the city of Sulaymaniah, and was moved to the city of Erbil in 1981. After the Ba’ath regime withdrew its administration in the aftermath of the Gulf War, in 1992 the Kurdistan Regional Government established the University of Sulaymaniah and the University of Dohuk. The two more recently established institutions are the University of Koya and Hawler Medical University.
The total number of the students at higher education institutes in the Kurdistan region is 94,700. The percentage of female students is 48%.
There is currently no tuition fee for education; it is free in Kurdistan.