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Iraqis Return To School Amid Security Fears


http://gdb.rferl.org/5E07B574-04DF-4979-BF78-73306A5E1CB9_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/5E07B574-04DF-4979-BF78-73306A5E1CB9_mw800_mh600.jpg Schoolchildren eating ice cream on their way to school in Baghdad's Al-Sadr City 2 October 2004 -- Children returned to school at Baghdad's Family Elementary School today, but many of the seats behind the desks were empty.

The school's deputy director, Ms. Salama, says many parents are scared of attacks, explosions, and kidnappings.

"At the beginning of the year all students come without any exception, now we see something like only 10 students in each class, because the parents fear for their children because of the situation," Salama said. "People are even afraid of the road to school."

Iraqis are still reeling from a bloody series of attacks in Baghdad two days ago that claimed the lives of 35 children.

They were killed when several explosions ripped into a crowd gathered to celebrate the inauguration of a new sewage plant.

It was the largest number of children to die in a single incident in 17 months of insurgent attacks.

The crowd had been unusually large, witnesses said, because the long school holidays were nearing an end.

Reports say there had been rumors the first day of school would be delayed -- again -- because of the dangerous security situation. It had already been pushed back from September.

But though not all students came, it went ahead as scheduled.

Education officials, meanwhile, are continuing efforts to revamp the country's education system with a new curriculum and new textbooks.
Iraqis are still reeling from a bloody series of attacks in Baghdad two days ago that claimed the lives of 35 children.


Gone is the much-despised course of National Education, which taught students achievements of Saddam Hussein's ruling Ba'ath Party.

In its place is a course that is a mix of civics and home economics, and teaches everything from electricity usage to respect for human rights and the opinions of others.

Thousands of teachers have also received extra training in the past few months.

(Wire reports/RFE/RL)
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