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Iraq wants help in training teachers in war-torn nation

Iraqis have been exposed to the horrors of war, torture and even sexual violence against children during their time under IS rule. Source: Reuters

With schools in some formerly Islamic State-held areas reopening for the first time in two years, Iraq’s ambassador to Australia has reached out to request support for training Iraqi teachers.

“You have a generation of students who have endured extraordinary conditions,” said Dr Hussain Al-Ameri as quoted by the AAP, who added Iraq’s education department was desperately coming to terms with helping its students overcome trauma and extremist brainwashing from their time under IS.

In July, the so-called “caliphate” of IS effectively collapsed when the Iraqi military reclaimed Mosul. While this means a return to “normal” civilian life, Iraqis have been exposed to the horrors of war, torture and even sexual violence against children.

Al-Ameri thinks an Australian-sponsored scholarship programme to give Iraqi teachers psychological training could be useful to help them develop skills in healing and resilience. This would mean they could better support their students.

Displaced Iraqis from Talafar are seen in Salamya camp, east of Mosul, Iraq, on Aug 6, 2017. Source: Reuters/Khalid Al-Mousily

He has already engaged with the Queensland department of education about developing a specialised training programme.

“Housing, schools, work, sports centres – when we have these, we have a healthy society,” said Al-Ameri, who also called for an increase in Australian aid support for Iraq.

Australia fought alongside the United States in the Iraq War and still has troops in the country battling IS.

It has contributed US$142 million in foreign aid to Iraq since 2014.

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