IRAQ: Delegation of Education Ministry inspects Syriac schools in Kerkeshlokh

KERKESLOKH (KIRKUK), Iraq – As part of a regular inspection of schools and educational institutions in Kerkeshlokh city and province, a delegation from the Iraqi Ministry of Education also visited several Syriac, Turkmen, and Kurdish schools to learn about the status and development of the educational process.

The delegation included Munir Jalal, director of the Syriac studies department in Kerkeshlokh (Kirkuk). The delegation visited several Syriac schools including Ishtar High School (cover image), Anastas Carmelite School, and Bahra Primary School to learn and inspect their educational process.

Syriac is an officially acknowledge language in Iraq – the only thing Iraqi Syriacs or Suryaye (Chaldeans-Arameans-Assyrians) agreed upon for the 2005 constitution.

The federal constitution of Iraq acknowledges Iraq as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country. Arabic and Kurdish are the two official languages, but all Iraqi citizens are guaranteed educational rights in their mother tongues, including Syriac, in the areas where they live. Any language outside Arabic and Kurdish can become an official language if so approved by referendum.

In Iraq, Syriacs are a recognized people and have the right to establish their own schools and teach their language alongside the official curriculum. Regional government funding is allocated for Syriac schools, teachers, and textbooks. An educational department within the Education Ministry has developed and maintains a Syriac curriculum which is taught at Syriac schools in the Nineveh Plains, Nohadra (Dohuk), Erbil, and Baghdad.