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September 27, 2013

English conquers Iraqi students

English is the most daunting and frequently failed subject in Iraq’s end-of-school exams, indicating a need to update teaching methodologies and focus on it earlier.

Karim al-Jabouri, an Iraqi student in his senior year of high school, is getting ready to sit for an English test after having failed it miserably on two previous occasions.

Like many of his fellow students, Jabouri is unable to express himself in English. He describes the language as a “complexity none of the students are able to penetrate.” He reiterated, “No one has mastered writing their thoughts in English.”

Adopting a serious tone, Jabouri confessed to Al-Monitor, “Cheating is my weapon to conquer the English language after having failed to understand it.” According to him and many others, cheating is the only solution. They write around 10 paragraphs on a variety of subjects, hoping that one of them will be usable for the exam.

It comes as no surprise that Jabouri along with many other students in Iraq did not receive sufficient instruction during their early school years to allow them to be successful in such courses at advanced levels. Jabouri lamented, “Even private lessons have not helped me understand the course better.” In past years, he passed because his parents contacted the teacher and won his favor with gifts and donations.

Read the full article from Al-Monitor.

Photo: Students attend a class on the first day of the new school term in Karbala, Sept. 24, 2013. (REUTERS/Mushtaq Muhammed)

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