Photo: By implementing partner non-governmental organization Pulse of Hope.

 

Education is one of the most powerful contributors to sustainable development and securing safe access for students is vital during the coronavirus pandemic. A new initiative to ensure students in areas of Anbar Governorate can attend school to perform their exams during the pandemic emphasizes how education is key, even under critical circumstances.  

On August 31, eleven exam centers in Al Qaim were sterilized so that students could safely attend school the next day for examinations. The campaign includes sanitization of schools in the remote areas of Al Qaim, Rawa, Anah, Haditha, and Heet in Anbar Governorate and is ongoing until examinations finish on September 20. In addition to the sanitization, information on prevention of COVID-19 is posted and masks, hand sanitizer, and gloves are made available for students, teachers and school staff.

Local Peace Committees supported by UNDP and funded by the Government of Denmark have implemented these activities in partnership with non-governmental organization Pulse of Hope.

 

Photo: A classroom at Al Qaim Secondary School for Girls is sterilized.

 

“After mid-year exams and the emergence of the coronavirus, official working hours in schools were suspended, negatively affecting students. This new initiative to sterilize the examination centers and distribute masks and sterilization tools enables the students to take their exams while feeling safe,” emphasizes Khamis Muhammad Salih, Director of Education, Al Qaim District. 

 

Photo: Health and safety information on COVID-19 is posted.

 

Duha, 19 years old, is pictured below as she waits for the school to open and her exam to begin on September 1.

“We are living in a very difficult period. During the start of the coronavirus pandemic we were unable to undertake our daily activities. Today I am happy to write my exams in this sterilized examination center.”

 

Photo: Duha, 19, on her way to write an exam in a newly sterilized center.


Ensuring access to education during the coronavirus crisis is paramount to securing a bright future for current students, and Duha reminds us why education is imperative.  

“I hope to succeed in school and become a doctor so that I can help the community fight against infectious diseases.”

 

For more information on UNDP Iraq’s Social Cohesion Programme, visit:

https://www.iq.undp.org/content/iraq/en/home/social-cohesion.html

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