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Jumhūriyyat al-‘Irāq (The Republic of Iraq) is located in the Middle East and is bordered by Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and the Persian Gulf. The population is 28,221,181, of which 75-80% are Arab, 15-20% are Kurdish, and the remainder are Turkoman, Assyrian, or other. Arabic is the official language with Kurdish as another official language in Kurdish regions. Turkoman, Assyrian, and Armenian are also spoken. The literacy rate is 74.1%.

The area of present day Iraq was part of Mesopotamia and was home to the Sumerian who were the first known civilization in the world. In the 6th century B.C, Mesopotamia became part of the Persian Empire and was a province of the Empire until the 7th century A.D. In 1258, the Mongols invaded the city of Baghad, and the resulting Battle of Baghdad completely destroyed the city. In 1535, the Ottomans gained control of Baghdad, lost control to the Iranian Safavids, and, in 1609, the Ottomans regained control then lost it again in 1747. Control of Baghdad fell between several different groups until the Ottoman Empire gained control in 1831. The Ottoman Empire held control of Baghdad until World War I when they were driven from the area by the British forces. Following World War I, the League of Nations granted the United Kingdom a mandate over Iraq and Palestine. The mandate united the former Ottoman provinces of Baghdad, Mosul, and Basra. The British established the monarchy of King Faisal. In 1932, the British granted independence to Iraq. On July 14, 1958, the monarchy was overthrown. In 1979, Saddam Hussein came to power. On March 20, 2003, multi-national forces led by the United States invaded Iraq and established a provisional government. A permanent government was elected in October 2005.


Education in Iraq is free at all levels and is compulsory from ages 6 to 11. Arabic is the language of instruction and Kurdish is also used in Kurdish-speaking areas. The Ministry of Education oversees Iraq's secondary level of education while higher education is overseen by the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Primary Education

Primary school begins at age six and is six years long. Upon completion, students are awarded a Primary Baccalauréat or a Certificate of Primary Studies.

Secondary Education

Secondary school is divided into two stages: intermediate and preparatory. The first stage is intermediate which is three years. Upon completion, students are awarded an Intermediate Baccalauréat, Third Form Baccalauréat, or a Certificate of Intermediate Studies.

The second stage is preparatory and is also three years. Beginning in the 2nd year, students are placed into the scientific or literary streams. Upon completion, students sit for an examination leading to a Adadiyah or a Certificate of Preparatory Studies.

Vocational secondary studies are three years and are offered at vocational preparatory secondary schools. Admission requires an entrance examination. Students are placed into one of three streams: industrial, agricultural, or commercial. Upon completion, they are awarded a Mihniya or a Certificate of Technician.

Post-Secondary Education

First Cycle, Academic

Post-secondary studies are offered at universities and technical institutes. Undergraduate studies are 4 - 6 years long, depending on the program of study. Upon successful completion, students are awarded a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Education, Bachelor of Science in Engineering, Bachelor of Architecture, Bachelor of Architectural Engineering, or a Bachelor of Pharmacy.

First Cycle, Vocational/Technical

Technical post-secondary programs are two years and lead to the Diploma of Technician.

Second Cycle

Graduate studies require a bachelor's degree and an average of 65% on undergraduate studies for admission. They are 2 years long and lead to a Higher Diploma or a Master of Arts, Master of Science or a Master of Education. Master's degrees require defense of thesis.

Third Cycle

Doctoral studies are 3 or more years long and require a master's degree for admission. Upon successful defense of a dissertation, students are awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.

Teacher Training

Primary school teachers are trained at teacher training institutes. It is a 5-year program for students who enter after completion of Intermediate Secondary School or a 2-year program for students who enter after completion of Preparatory Secondary School. Upon completion, students are awarded a Diploma of Education. Secondary school teachers must hold a Bachelor of Education or a bachelor's degree.



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