Education developments and teaching during the pandemic were at the heart of discussions at a recent meeting between the Kurdistan Teachers' Union (KTU) and the education minister of the region of Iraq. The union also sought to improve teachers’ working conditions and the quality of education provided to students.
Kurdistan’s Education Minister, Alan Hama Saeed Saleh, and the KTU delegation, led by KTU President Abdalwahed M. Haje, recognised that the COVID-19 pandemic had not prevented the educational process in Kurdistan during the past semester. Teaching resumed in classrooms on 14 September 2021.
They also focused on the fact that teachers and students, particularly students over the age of 12, must be vaccinated against the virus to reduce the impact of infection.
Union demands for change across the sector
KTU presented the education minister with the following demands:
- Amending and reviewing of curricula to highlight issues such as human rights, children’s rights, environment, climate change, social justice, and gender equality.
- Reforming the duties of staff in charge of supervision in the education sector and reorganising instructions and laws. This should help teachers improve the teaching and learning process.
- Training new teachers, and instructing them how to use technology, so that they use the Internet and online systems to teach their students whenever it is necessary to do so.
- Reviewing the exam procedures. KTU wants exams to be reorganised to make them suitable for all students of all abilities. For example, the union noted a significant difference between the 65 per cent of students who benefit from seeing pictures, chronological lines, graphics, and maps while learning, and the remainder who prefer listening and oral questions.
These issues were debated during the meeting with a view to improving the process of teaching and learning, Haje added.
Reaction to education minister’s promise
He also welcomed the education minister’s promise “to be the best supporter and helper of the Kurdistan Teachers’ Union, to improve the process of education and teaching in the Kurdistan Region”. The minister also suggested additional meetings with the organisation representing the teaching profession.