Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fewer Iraqi girls attending school

The number of girls attending school in Iraq is dropping and education specialists worry that it could create a huge education gap, IRIN reported Monday.

“The fear of losing their children through violence has led many families to keep their children at home but the number of girls kept at home is higher because in addition to the security problem, they are being forced by their families to assist in household chores,” said Sinan Zuhair, a media officer for the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

“Many families have lost their fathers or mothers and girls are asked to stay at home to help to cook, wash and clean. They are the ones paying the price of the violence since they have to forget about their future to be able to help the lives of their brothers,” Zuhair said. “The problem is worse in the rural areas where religion is being used by fathers as an excuse to justify why their daughters no longer attend school.”

Iraq’s northern provinces tend to have slightly better attendance, but even there it is only in the main towns, according to Mustafa Jaboury, a spokesman for the Ministry of Education. “In many villages, either girls have never attended school or they have been forced by their parents to leave school,” he said.

School attendance is expected to fall by another 15 percent this term for boys and 25 percent for girls, the ministry said.

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