Although the war ended a year ago, the University of Mosul has not been rebuilt. The University's administrators blame both the central government and the international community for the lack of reconstruction. Nonetheless, the University's students are continuing their studies despite the widespread destruction.
Iraqi students at the University of Mosul are continuing their studies despite the destruction of more than 50% of the university’s buildings and with very little equipment.
“There are neither microscopes nor instruments, everything is destroyed or stolen, there is nothing left,” said one of the university’s students. “No furniture, equipment, machinery, appliances, or computers are left. There is nothing.”
Almost immediately after ISIS seized control of Mosul in mid-2014, the militants began a campaign of destruction against the once prestigious institution. The militants looted anything of value in the university and deliberately burned many of the books in the university’s numerous libraries. More than 8,000 books and 100,000 manuscripts are believed to have been destroyed by ISIS.
Since the elimination of ISIS in the city in July 2017, students – both past and present – have taken on the colossal task of restoring their university back to its pre-war condition. One of the student volunteer groups have taken it upon themselves to rehabilitate the libraries at the risk of encountering IEDs left behind by the militants.
However, the students highlight the need for greater support, both financially and logistically, from the central government and the international community.
“We have lost three years because of ISIS. Now another year is being lost due to delays. What is out fault?” Said another of the university’s students. “Now this university has no department that is ready [for teaching]. As for students from the Right Side [Right Bank – western Mosul], how will they come? The bridges are still destroyed. When I come here I have to pass through many security checkpoints.”
As a result of ISIS’ scorched earth strategy, in which the militant group destroyed many of the city’s buildings and accompanying infrastructure, the total cost of reconstruction and rehabilitation of Mosul has been estimated at around $30 billion. Despite a number of reconstruction initiatives already underway in the city, it is likely to take many years to restore Mosul back to its pre-ISIS condition.