7th June 15:10
Iraqis Against 'Americanizing' Universities (science charge books area authority)
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
Iraqis Against 'Americanizing' Universities
By Sobhy Haddad, IOL Correspondent
BAGHDAD, August 28 (IslamOnline.net) - Iraqi university students and
professors, including the deputy president of the Baghdad-based Al-Nahrien
University, firmly oppose any attempt to "Americanize" universities and
would only support "cooperation" with American educational institutions.
Dr. Faek Gawwad al-Ezzawi told IslamOnline.net that the U.S. administration
in Iraq, which is working on "twining" Iraqi universities with American
peers, keeps special plans for his time-honored university which once
carried the name of ousted president Saddam Hussein.
"It (plan) dates back to almost two months when U.S. officials visited the
university in the posh Gadriaa area and were surprised at its quasi-American
education system," he recalled.
The Iraqi official said the Americans were thinking to turn the university
into an American similar to those in Egypt and Lebanon.
Ezzawi also indicated that some Iraqi professors held meetings with Iraqi
"pointmen" to communicate with the American official in charge of the Iraqi
education file to conclude twining agreements between Iraqi and American
He, however, stopped short of naming the American universities or fixing a
date to put such agreements into fruition.
Though Ezawwi rebuffed the "Americanization" of the Iraqi universities he
welcomed "cooperation" protocols regarding "curricula, researches, future
plans and mutual visits."
"Our universities should hold on to their independence," stressed the
university deputy chief.
Anmar, a student at the faculty of science, saw eye to eye with Ezawwi,
approving only curricula development on par with American universities.
"Baghdad University will remain independent and under the authority of the
ministry of high education and scientific research," he said.
"Iraq abounds with brilliant and competent professors, who can keep pace
with the latest development in the West and the United States," Anmar
Khaled Khalil, another student, echoed the mainstream.
"Iraq is a free and independent country and our university will never be in
American hands," he said.
Ezzawi further said that education in Iraq has been always free-of-charge,
noting that the idea of privatizing Iraqi universities "has not been debated
"Some parties are encouraging Iraqi universities to get foreign aid but none
has been granted any financial assistance thus far," he said, criticizing
insufficient allotments from the occupation authorities in Iraq.
But Ezzawi did not spare the deposed Iraqi regime the blame, saying pre-war
chaos in the education system dragged on.
"We used to buy books and photocopy it and then distribute the copies among
the students, and now it is the same as ever, given the insufficient
funding," he asserted.
Some universities, in light of the anarchy that mired the country in the
aftermath of Baghdad downfall, have doubled and even tripled their admission
fees, such as the Baghdad-based Al-Rafdeen University.
"The university displayed a notification of admission fees, which
sky-rocketed from 250,000 Iraqi dinars to 650,000 (1800 dinars equals one
dollar)," said Mohammad Hani, a marketing student.
On the nature of university curricula now that Saddam Hussein is out of
picture, Ezzawi said Al-Nahrien University, for instance, has wiped out a
book on the deposed president which was obligatory.
He noted that the university also penciled out some parts from other
textbooks, which trumpeted the ideas of the disbanded Baath party.
As for the curricula of the faculty of political sciences in the university,
Ezzawi asserted that they were devoid of anything related to the former
"All Saddam photos and Baath slogans have been rubbed out from all
textbooks," he put it in a nutshell.
Following the Baathist revolution in July 1968, the education sector in Iraq
took a new turn, as Baathists made education charge-free and paid due
attention to cadres.
After the first Gulf War between Iraq and Iran, curricula gradually turned
to "glorify" any thing made by Saddam.
On July 7, the occupation authorities erased any mention of Saddam and his
party in school curricula and annulled and the scholarships granted to those
favored by the ousted leader.