The majority of school-aged children in Iraqi Mosul have failed to study for the past three years, as the city had been under the control of the ISIS terrorist group.
A Sputnik correspondent managed to talk to some of the pupils from Mosul and their parents. After the city was liberated and the siege was lifted, these children went to other districts in the country to pass their exams in public schools that remained open.
Mohammed, a fourth grader, said that the militants deprived him of his favorite teacher.
“I loved my teacher. After ISIS militants came to our neighborhood, they forbade the female teachers from working at the boys’ school,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed added that he studied only one week at school under the Daesh rule, and all he learned was that “one bullet plus one bullet equals two bullets.”
The boy’s mother said that parents in Mosul made their own decision not to send children to schools managed by Daesh.
“We forbade our children from attending Daesh —controlled schools. For example, my son was given a textbook for fifth grade students which described how to make bombs and explosives,” Mohammed’s mother told Sputnik, adding that the parents had no idea where the Daesh militants got these textbooks or how they managed to print them.
The pupils and their parents were happy to be granted amnesty by the Ministry of Education for the time spent in the city during its occupation. The parents of Faten, a school girl from Mosul, said that their daughter was able to transfer from the fourth to the seventh grade.
“My daughter did not attend school for three years, but we managed to take advantage of a Ministry of Education’s amnesty, pass an exam and transfer to the seventh grade,” Faten’s mother said.
The woman said that she, above all, wanted her to daughter to learn English and leave Iraq.
“What happened in Iraq gives no hope for our children’s future. The buildings in our Az Zanjili district were ruined. The militants are still there, they continue to kill people, detonate bombs and blow up cars,” Faten’s mother noted.
Parents of Mosul’s school children, interviewed by Sputnik, praised the Ministry of Education’s amnesty for the past three years and expressed a hope that the ministry officials would do their best to help children make up for time lost and obtain knowledge.
Mosul residents flee their homes as Iraqi forces battle the Islamic State group in a street to street fight in west Mosul, Monday, April 24, 2017
© AP Photo/ Bram Janssen
Real Life in Iraq’s Mosul: No Food Left and Children Starving to Death
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 470 schools in Mosul have reopened under international support, including 136 schools located in the city’s most heavily damaged western part. These schools have accepted about 365,000 children, Sharon Behn, the chief of communications at UNICEF Iraq, told Sputnik.
Behn noted that almost 650,000 Mosul children are in need of assistance. These children are coming home and they will need schools and the basic services they are entitled to, she explained.
On Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi announced a victory over Daesh in Mosul, the country’s second-largest city that had been occupied by militants for over three years. US Army Lt. Gen. Steven Townsend, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR), said Tuesday that it would take a few more weeks to clean up Mosul.