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Iraq Needs Foreign Help To Overcome School Shortage

In the south, many schools are made of mud and are unusable if it rains.
BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Education Minister Kudair al-Khuzai says the country needs international help to build and renovate thousands of schools to avert a shortage, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq reports.

Khuzai told RFE/RL that some $4 billion is needed to improve the country's schools, and that several international agencies are already involved in the task, especially "donor countries and the World Bank, whose schools are of excellent quality."

He said the country is short by some 4,500 schools and that a nationwide "multilateral campaign" is needed to overcome the problem.

He said the shortage is particularly acute in southern Iraq, where many schools are made out of mud.

Abdal Halim al-Husaini, a spokesman for educational authorities in the southern Dhi Qar Province, said that in his province alone there are 205 mud schools, 37 of which are being reconstructed with bricks by various countries or international agencies.

Uday Nassir, who lives in Dhi Qar, said that just a little rain turns the mud schools into mush.

Because of this, he said, those schools often remain closed for a week to 10 days after a few minutes of rain.