Starting in the 1980s, Iraq, a prosperous oil nation, began to undergo detrimental bouts of violence and military conflict with its neighbours Iran and later Kuwait. These activities along with ensuing international sanctions had far-reaching effects on the country’s economy and development. What remained of the economy was, in large part, destroyed by the 2003 invasion and insurgent attacks on the country’s infrastructure, which have cost Iraq billions in revenue. At present, significant levels of sectarian violence, insecurity and corruption hamper the country’s development prospects.

source(s): UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report 2013/14

Main Barriers to Education

  • Conflict & security
  • Lack of trained teachers
  • Gender discrimination

Interventions to Barriers

  • Data maintenance & analysis
  • School management & teacher training
  • Psychosocial support & alternative curriculum

In a region that has known all too brief episodes of peace and stability since the onset of the MDGs in 2000, some countries have made veritable strides towards universal primary education and the MDGs. Iraq has been unable to outpace its circumstances in this regard. Though the government is committed to providing free quality education (from primary through higher education), strengthening its national education system and building capacity, the challenges afflicting Iraq’s education sector are prevalent. To date – according to UNESCO there are approximately 227,000 Syrian refugee children in the country as a result of the conflict. 

In recognition of its challenges, the government has identified pre-service and in-service teacher training, OOSC enrolment, particularly for girls, and developing curriculum specifically for children in crisis-affected areas as priorities.

In an attempt to support Syrian refugee children within Iraq’s borders, EAC has partnered with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. The project specifically seeks to increase access to safe-learning spaces, expand remedial education, and strengthen alternative education programmes for OOSC, as well as construct and rehabilitate learning spaces and support teacher-training initiatives.


Geographic Location: Middle East

Languages: Arabic (official), Kurdish (official), Turkmen, Assyrian and Armenian

source: Worldbank, UNESCO

Year added: 


EAC Partnership Iraq

Successfully Completed Project

The EAC Partnership Iraq project is implemented by the UNESCO's Iraq office and seeks to enroll 30,000 out of school children in four governorates of Iraq in quality primary education programs.
Equitable Access to Education for Out of School Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria

Equitable Access to Education for Out of School Children Affected by the Crisis in Syria

Successfully Completed Project

The crisis in Syria is now in its fifth year and every day the risk of a lost generation of children grows. Nearly 14 million children have been affected by escalating conflict. Half of all Syrians are displaced and close to 2 million children have fled for neighboring countries and are living in overcrowded camps, inadequate informal settlements, or host communities, where tensions are rising between refugee and local populations.

Improving Access to Quality and Inclusive Education with Gender Equality for OOSC in Iraq

In partnership, EAC and UNESCO plan to reach and enrol 150,000 of Iraq's most vulnerable OOSC in the governates of Babil, Baghdad, Erbil, Ninewa, Salah Al Din and Thi Qar with quality primary education over the course of three-and-a-half year period.



EAC partnered with UNESCO to help realise Sustainable Development Goal 4 (ensure inclusive and quality education for all), as well as the former Millennium Development Goal 2 (achieve universal primary education). To that end, the two have joined in partnership to implement education interventions in 11 countries to reach OOSC in Asia and the Middle East.


In partnership, EAC and UNICEF USA are providing quality primary education to 95,000 displaced children in Syria through offices in Amman, Damascus and Gaziantep.