UNDP-Shell partnership rehabilitates primary school in Basra to improve educational outcomes

Basra School opening
Students of Al Jawadain school, Basra, participated in the opening ceremony on 31 March. Photo: UNDP Iraq/2016

Basra, 31 May 2016 – The long conflict in Iraq has gravely affected the education sector, imposing numerous challenges on accessibility, delivery, sustainability and quality of this vital public service. Over time, specifically the poor quality of facilities available to students can be a demotivating factor that limits learning opportunities.

Highlights

  • An additional 200 students will be able study at the Al Jawadain Primary school in the coming academic year
  • Rehabilitation work included the addition of one floor to create six new classrooms, a laboratory, and teachers’ room, and the installation of a reverse osmosis water unit and coolers
  • "Their efforts will enable us to deliver better education to our students and community,” said school Headmaster on the support of UNDP and Shell Iraq

To support the provision of quality education in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in consultation with Al Dayr Local Council, UNDP and Shell Iraq joined efforts to rehabilitate Al Jawadain Primary School located in the north of Basra Governorate. Funding was obtained through the Majnoon Oil Field Welfare Fund portfolio.

UNDP Partnership Manager, Mr. Tha’ir Shraideh, explained: “The rehabilitation of the Al Jawadain Primary School is the third successful education project delivered through our partnership with Shell Iraq. Two other schools, Al Ma’arifa Primary School and Ala Al Deen Primary School, were restored in Al Nashwa, Basra in 2013. We work with national stakeholders and consult with local communities to identify projects that meet people’s needs. This project not only improves educational facilities in Al Dayr, but also demonstrates how we can collectively make a difference for Iraqis.”

The rehabilitation work was undertaken over a ten-month period during February to December 2015, and consisted of a number of renovations and extensions including the addition of one floor to create six new classrooms, a laboratory, and teachers’ rooms. It further covered the installation of a reverse osmosis water unit and coolers to supply clean drinking water, the provision of new student desks and school furniture, and the landscaping of outdoor spaces, including play areas. The project also beautified the school premises with consideration of safety requirements to deliver a better educational environment.

The school Headmaster, Mr. Najeeb Majeed Buni, highlighted the value of the project, saying: “We are grateful to UNDP, Shell Iraq and all of the partners who contributed to make this project a reality. Their efforts will enable us to deliver better education to our students and community.”

The addition of six new classrooms means that more students can receive education. In the coming academic year, an additional 200 students will be able study at the school, almost doubling the current student population.

General Manager of Majnoon Oil Field, Mr. Ahmad Atallah, commented: “Our work in and around the communities in which we operate is an important element of our contribution to Iraq. It is rewarding to see the completion of a school rehabilitation project in Al Dayr to create an environment where Iraqi children can continue their studies, while providing more space for additional students.”

Now in its fourth year, the UNDP-Shell partnership consists of two components. First, it focuses on delivering development initiatives in communities surrounding the Majnoon Oil Field, which is operated by Shell Iraq. In addition to the rehabilitation of schools, initiatives include the construction of playgrounds for children and support to new and existing small businesses. As part of this work stream, UNDP also supports the local authorities to ensure that the concerns and priorities of targeted communities are reflected in the government planning processes and the delivery of basic services.

The second component of the partnership is focused on the development of workforce capacity in the oil and gas sector in Basra. Activities include capacity development of oil and gas contractors, and the design and assessment of technical and vocational training programmes.

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