The Iraqi Education Ministry last week began a new strategy to cultivate teachers' skills and raise their knowledge levels as part of a broader plan to enhance the national education sector.
The new plan, launched in January in collaboration with UNESCO, includes teacher training and self-rehabilitation courses, said Ghazi Mutlaq of the ministry's General Directorate of Educational Curricula.
The joint effort focuses on developing the abilities of Iraqi teaching staff to foster learning "not through memorisation and dictation, but on the basis of thinking and understanding, which helps energise intelligence, absorption and realisation and creates a spirit of discussion and students' expression of their own views", he told Mawtani.
UNESCO experts will train educational specialists from across Iraq and will in turn organise expanded training programmes for primary and secondary school teachers, he said, adding that the whole process will be closely monitored to ensure it is being properly implemented.
The new strategy also calls for the establishment of the first academy in Iraq specialised in training and preparing professional educational leaders, he said.
UNESCO also will revamp Iraqi curricula and textbooks on a regular basis, Mutlaq said.
"The teachers' training plan is among the objectives of the 2011-2020 national strategy for education and learning in Iraq," said Abed Thiyab al-Ajeely of the parliamentary higher education and scientific research committee.
The broader strategy focuses not only on training and qualifying teachers "but also covers various aspects of the education and learning system, such as efforts to introduce legislative and administrative reforms; developing education sector infrastructure; applying quality management and information technology systems; and concentrating attention on scientific research", he told Mawtani.
Schoolteachers and some students enrolled at basic education colleges and teacher institutes will take the training to increase their expertise and competence "in both academic and practical aspects", al-Ajeely said.
The teacher training strategy is the fruit of extensive efforts, discussions and meetings among parliamentarians, ministry officials and their UNESCO partners, said Adel Shershab head of the parliamentary education committee.
"In this plan, we put in place a broad framework for managing and organising the process of training; pinpointed available mechanisms to improve the infrastructure of training centres spread throughout the provinces; and adopted instructions, systems and the basics necessary to developing the educational system in Iraq," he said.