Iraq: Teacher training is critical for quality education for all and the status of the profession

published 29 November 2023 updated 1 December 2023

Teacher training, especially continuous professional development, is critical for the provision of quality education for all. This is part of the advocacy by Kurdistan Teachers’ Union (KTU) President Abdulwahed Mohammad Haje, while urging the Ministry of Education to improve training offered to teachers in this Iraqi region and suggesting ways to do it.

Teacher training, a necessity for successful and sustainable teaching and learning

Noting that no teacher training has been initiated by public authorities since 2014, he explained that the consequences are being felt by the profession across the board. “When there were bad goods in the market, people just used to say that they were set aside for the teachers. The word ‘teacher’ has been used ironically to mock teachers,” he added.

KTU President Abdulwahed Mohammad Haje

Haje also acknowledged that “training or development of teachers has become a necessity. It must be done. I think it is good that the ministry of education has started the process of training. I fully support the concept of teacher sustainable development, because teachers need to refresh their pedagogical methods.”

For him, “if there are not any changes in the methods of teaching and providing knowledge, wisdom and intelligence will be stopped. Improving and developing teachers’ skills ensures that methods to pass on knowledge are up-to-date. Not every process in this world is perfect. Every process must be strengthened and supported to be successful and sustainable.”

He went on to stress that, when he participated with a KTU delegation in an international conference in Cambodia, he met with several teachers, some of whom were trainers and showed him other ways to train teachers.

KTU recommendations

Haje therefore made the following recommendations to Kurdistan’s governmental authorities:

  1. Teachers in the Kurdistan Region differ in their academic background and pedagogical abilities. This must be considered very carefully and accurately.
  2. Teachers need to develop their skills in their fields, and need specialists to help them develop them properly.
  3. Teachers’ trust must be rebuilt for the educational process to be improved and successful. Measures and steps in that direction must be actively taken.
  4. The training process requires coaches to be very capable and good managers, so that they can encourage teachers to participate in this process.
  5. Students should not be wasting their time, because the main purpose of the teacher training process is to save study time.
  6. It is very important that the training supervision unit and supervisors play a vital role in the training process, because they were in the past the best teachers and leaders of the process of the education in our country.
  7. The country’s 36,000 lecturers must be acknowledged and offered permanent positions.
  8. When the training process is fully implemented and achieves its goals, teachers are not worried about their living conditions. Their dignity and honour must be protected, so that they remain strong and can best engage in training and provide quality teaching, as demonstrated by education figures.