Youth Entrepreneurship in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq

To help address the growing unemployment rate among youth in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Ministry of Education is introducing entrepreneurship education (ECP) into secondary vocational schools.

Approximately 1,056 students will participate in the ECP curriculum this school year, 2020-2021.Photo 220201026

As part of the initiative, UNIDO organized a 120-hour Training of Trainers on Entrepreneurship Development for 15 teachers and 2 staff of secondary vocational schools in Duhok Governorate of KRI, from September 20 – October 15, 2020. The objective of the training was to prepare teachers to assist students with securing pathways to employment. The training included courses on such topics as entrepreneurship, business planning, leadership, and pedagogy.

In 2018 and 2019, UNIDO and the Ministry of Education successfully pilot tested the ECP curriculum in 10 secondary vocational schools in Erbil. The project introduced the program to 1,550 secondary education students in Grades 10 and 11.

The UNIDO’s ECP initiative is designed to advance the economic resilience of the local community and answer to the complex challenge of addressing human security in a post conflict environment. As a practical alternative to a college education, it aims to fill the gap between academia and industry. The Federal Government of Austria and the Japanese Government are supporting this initiative.

Ministry of Education of Duhok, Mr. Shazriy Khalil, serves as head of the Planning Department for Duhok’s program. Khalil explains that, “it is necessary to develop industrial preparatory schools and support their graduates with small business support. This is essential for the development of the local economy.”

He notes that the school system generally only sees a few highly competent students graduating on an annual basis and government support for vocational schools and their graduates has traditionally been minimal.

Khalil says, “there is an urgent need to intensify and develop curriculum to build up the technical skills of students. As the ECP is now part of these vocational schools’ curriculum, it will certainly make a positive change.”

Mr. Bjar M Salih, a teacher of computer science in Duhok Vocational School, participated in the Training of Trainers program this fall. He sees the ECP curriculum as essential to the success of Duhok’s secondary students—echoing the Ministry of Education’s sense of urgency for reform.

He states, “Currently the education sector is not very effective. Students are after certificates rather than learning and developing their skills. There is also little support for youth and little guidance, in addition to the few and limited job opportunities available.”

Salih says of his experiences in the training, “I will go back to the school as a different teacher, using training workshops and focusing more on practical classes.”

Last modified on Monday, 26 October 2020 20:11

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