The nation must place “sustained focus” on improving teacher quality in order to create a genuinely “democratic and economically stable society,” the Obama Administration has concluded. Consequently, the White House has decided to invest nearly $100 million into a new program to enhance primary school teaching-training and management nationwide—nationwide, that is, in Iraq.
Obama, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), even has given the initiative an Arabic title: Ajyal, which means “generations.”
In order to improve the Government of Iraq’s ability to deliver “quality primary education,” USAID is launching the Education Strengthening Project, also known as USAID/Ajyal, according to a planning document that WND obtained through routine database research.
“Children in Iraq need quality instruction,” the agency said in a Request for Proposals dated April 12, and the U.S. is determined to bring about “systems improvements to deliver quality instruction and safe learning environments.”
Although the Iraqi Ministry of Education has 20 Teacher Training Institutes, or TTIs, throughout the nation, the facilities “lack standardized training for early primary grade teachers, who have little opportunity to receive professional development… As a result, there is no continuity or consistency in the training that teachers receive on an annual basis.”
The agency acknowledged in the document that a variety of organization already embarked upon similar endeavors.
“Other donors such as UNESCO, the World Bank, UNICEF and Save the Children have programs targeting teacher training, curriculum reform and access to education at the community level,” it said.
Nonetheless, the agency does not view this latest effort as redundant; rather, the existing programs will “complement” what USAID/Ajyal is setting out to achieve.
USAID is looking for a contractor to carry out this program by engaging the TTIs, the central offices of the Iraq Ministry of Education, provincial-level Ministry offices, and a few select primary schools.
“Special attention will be given to expanding educational opportunities for girls, and other vulnerable populations and minorities so that they might enjoy higher engagement and retention,” the Statement of Work pointed out. “These students will be aided in their transition to intermediate schools.”
FOR FURTHER REPORTING ON THE U.S. AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT, PLEASE VISIT THE MONITOR'S USAID PAGE.
FOR ADDITIONAL REGIONAL COVERAGE, SEE THE MONITOR'S IRAQ PAGE.