US State Department helping to restore Iraq’s education ministry
Funding the rebuilding of Iraq's higher education sector is one of the most important ways donors can help the country rejoin the world's intellectual, economic, political and cultural communities, says a US State Department official who in November returned to Iraq for his third tour of duty.
Director of the Bureau of International Information Programs' US Global Technology Corps, Jim Mollen will spend the next six months helping to coordinate the rebuilding of Iraq's 20 major universities and more than 40 technical institutes, research centers and colleges, reported Washington File.
Almost all the institutions were ransacked or burned during and immediately after the fall of the Saddam Hussein regime. Mollen is serving as special advisor to Iraq's Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
In a recent meeting with a Washington File reporter, Mollen said the Education Ministry's immediate goal is to rebuild the physical infrastructure of Iraq's institutions of higher learning. That includes restoring academic buildings, classrooms, libraries and laboratories.
The ministry also wants to establish a nation-wide university information and computing infrastructure to help Iraq end its decades of "intellectual isolation." As a first step, Mollen is helping to coordinate the development of an information technology strategy for the ministry, he said.
The higher education goals include re-establishing academic visits and exchanges for faculty and students, Mollen said. Toward this end the US State Department announced in October it will re-establish the Fulbright scholarship program in Iraq. The program last operated in the country in 1988.
Another objective is to develop Western-style graduate business schools and executive management education programs, Mollen said. Iraq's higher education ministry has approximately 45,000 employees working throughout the country. That number is expected to increase to 50,000 in 2004, he added. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)