With the start of the new academic year, thousands of Moslawi children are returning to their newly rehabilitated schools. Many of the schools that have been reconstructed are located in the western areas of Mosul, which were most damaged during the liberation battles.
With the arrival of the 2018-19 school year, the Nineveh Directorate of Education has opened 1900 schools enabling the return of thousands of students to school in Mosul. The Directorate estimates that more than 900,000 students will return to schools across the province of Nineveh, one year after the defeat of ISIS.
To celebrate the accomplishment, the Director of Education in Nineveh Province, Wahid Farid, attended a ceremonial assembly in the Mshahadah neighbourhood in West Mosul, where he said that Nineveh province had overcome the shortage of schools that other liberated areas are still facing.
Despite this statement by Mr. Farid, parents and school administrators say that further rehabilitation efforts need to be undertaken in the province, especially since more and more residents are returning to their homes. “I call on officials to rebuild destroyed schools in other areas to accommodate the largest number of students because people have started to return to their homes,” said Bashar Hazim, a school principal in West Mosul.
Residents have also stressed that the rehabilitation of educational facilities will encourage more families to return to the province. “The opening of schools is one of the reasons for the return of families,” said Zaid Mahmoud, a parent. “However, we want more, and we want schools of the intermediate stage to open.”
Despite the shortcomings and the limited capabilities, students in the Old City of Mosul have expressed their delight with the opening of their new schools.
“I used to go to the Zanjili area on foot and attend the school of Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas,” says Omar Marwan, a student in the Old City of Mosul. “Today, I attended this school. I want to become a military officer to protect this area from the ISIS militants who ruined it when they came.”
With children like Omar wanting to go to school to combat ISIS in the future, educators have a huge role in tackling extremist ideas that may still exist amongst the returning students, many of whom have not receive psychological rehabilitation following liberation.