Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Good News from Iraq: 19 Aug 2008

From MNF-I, Educating Tomorrow’s Leaders in Ramadi.

RAMADI — In most parts of the world a school house stands as a symbol - a symbol of education, of growth, of innocence.

But in al-Anbar province, school houses had been used early in the war as a domicile for malicious acts conducted by insurgents against Coalition forces, not for educating the future leaders of tomorrow.

In a November 2006 Washington Post article, Abdul Sattar Jawad, the former dean of the College of Arts at Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, wrote, “The mass [violence in the country] underscores the chilling fact that the most dangerous place in Iraq is not the mosque, the marketplace or the military checkpoint, but the classroom.”

In sharp contrast to Jawad’s dim description of the country, the region is now rebuilding. Restorations and reopening of schools are taking place daily in Iraq, with Ramadi seemingly leading the way.

The Industrial High School in Ramadi was the latest school to open in the city.

“It’s great that the city was able to get this school opened up,” said Khalid Abdul Salam, an assistant to the Director General of Schools. “The school is going to be a wonderful institution not only for the students, but for all of Ramadi. As the youth of the city continue to earn an education, they will assist the city and the province in making their country prosperous.”

The structure required heavy renovations as it was badly damaged during the war. The combined efforts of Civil Affairs Detachment 2, the International Relief and Development team and the Director General of Schools made the renovations possible.

The project was a high priority for the city as the school will serve as an institution for young males seeking to learn valuable trades. Educators there will teach the students construction and electrical work, along with a variety of other skills.

“Education is the key to any society’s advancement,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Jett, a team leader with Civil Affairs Detachment 2. “This school will allow young people from all across al-Anbar to come and learn a trade. It also has the added benefit of getting the young males off the streets and giving them something productive to do. This school will give them opportunity to become functioning members of society.”