Prime Minister Barzani praises private sector’s support for education in Kurdistan

Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq (cabinet.gov.krd) – Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani yesterday attended the handover ceremony of a school built by UB Holding to the Ministry of Education.

Following is the text of Prime Minister Barzani’s speech:

Dear distinguished guests,
Good evening,

Before I get into my speech, please allow me to update you about the latest advances of the Peshmerga forces against ISIS terrorists during the last three days in Kirkuk area and Bashir village, which was under the control of ISIS for a long time. Today, fierce fighting occurred also in Teleskuf between Peshmerga forces and ISIS terrorists. I salute the souls of our lost Peshmergas during the last three days and wish a speedy recovery for the wounded.

Today our brave Peshmerga forces, by sacrificing their lives, repelled multiple ISIS attacks in several fronts. I offer my deepest condolences to the families of the martyred Peshmergas. Fighting ISIS is a shared responsibility, and I hope together we can defeat our common enemy. The role of Peshmerga forces in fighting this terrorist organization is of great value, as they are defending humanity and peaceful coexistence in Iraq.

I am very pleased to be here with you all at this special event. An event which is not only about constructing a new building or providing educational needs, but also an event that demonstrates love for your nation, people and country. This event is a clear indication of the will and the generosity of our people in contributing to the reconstruction of Kurdistan, such efforts are highly appreciated.

Today UB Holding Group is handing over its tenth school to the KRG Ministry of Education. All ten schools were funded and built by UB Holding according to international standards. During such challenging times, there is not better gift to students and the ministry of education than a modern school building.

The UB Holding has built six, nine, and twelve classroom schools in Semel, Bardarash, Slemani,Amedi, Batifa, Halabja, Zakho, and today we are here for the delivery of this 18-classroom school. UB Holding has also taken the responsibility to provide all school equipment and necessities for all the ten schools. In addition, the group has renovated 12 schools in different areas of Kurdistan.

The location of this school was previously occupied by illegal housing construction, disregarding the master plan of the municipality. According to a plan, which was set by the governorate of Erbil in coordination with Habitat, the government demolished more than 500 illegal houses, and compensated each family with a piece of land in another location were all services were provided.

As part of their activities, the UB Holding has offered the much needed humanitarian assistance to the displaced Yezidis, Christians, the beloved people of Shingal and others fleeing ISIS brutality. They have built halls and camps, in particular in Zakho to accommodate the displaced people and have provided basic humanitarian assistance in those camps. This is in addition to their continued support to our brave Peshmerga forces in the frontlines. They have done all of these projects because of their love for Kurdistan. I thank them and I wish them continued success.

Ladies and gentlemen,

One of the main problems facing Kurdistan’s education sector is lack of school buildings. Despite the fact that building schools has always been in the agenda of the government and to some extent we have succeeded in reaching our goal but continued increase in the number of students requires building more schools.

I’m glad to say that since the fall of the former regime in 2003, there has been a steady increase in school enrolment. This indicates that our people look into the future with optimism and try to build a better future for their children through education. As a result, the government came under huge pressure to build more schools and provide educational necessities. The numbers put forward by the KRG Minister of Education gave us a good idea about the difference in the situation in the past and now.

We are in need of private sector and donors to help us build schools; it will be an immense support for the KRG and for the education sector in Kurdistan.
Contributions of the private sector in the development and reconstruction of Kurdistan is of great important to KRG. Building more schools will help to provide a better learning environment for our children at schools.

The Kurdistan Regional Government remains committed to enhance the quality and standard of education. We will do whatever it takes to assure that our children are receiving an empowering and a world-class education in order to prepare them for a bright future. That was the theme of the latest education conference of our ministry of education.

Considering the current needs of Kurdistan Region in terms of reconstruction and development, I would like to reiterate that we are making concerted efforts to promote vocational trainings in various fields and to double our support for such kind of educational programmes so that we can have enough experts in different fields in order to rely on our people at all levels.

To achieve this goal in a near future, the Ministry of Education is assigned to take serious steps and scientific measures in that regard. The goal, unlike in the past, is to promote vocational educations in Kurdistan and offer job opportunities to the graduates that would enable them to contribute to the development of our region and to provide a better life for their families.

We greatly value the initiatives from private sector and individuals to build schools. We have seen such efforts in the past and we are glad that the desire to help government build more schools is increasing.

As part of the campaign launched by the ministry of education for the 2015-2016 academic year, 600 schools were renovated by the private sector and individuals in the four governorates of Erbil, Slemani, Duhok, and Halabja. Taking into consideration the economic challenges facing the KRG, such kind of efforts are of great help to KRG. We hope that we will continue to see such contributions in the upcoming years.

I hope that this event will encourage other private sector companies and individuals to help KRG rebuild Kurdistan, build more schools, and enhance human capacity building. Such contributions would be a source of pride for themselves, the people of Kurdistan, and the Kurdistan Regional Government.
Once again, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to UB Holding group, Mr. Khalil Nazir, Abdulhadi Nazir, their father and brothers. I wish them continued success. I hope all of us can play our share in the reconstruction and development of Kurdistan, a nation that was built by the blood of our fathers and is now being protected by the sacrifices of our brave Peshmergas.

Salute to the souls of our Martyrs, long live our brave Peshmergas.

Thank you.

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