American School in Erbil improves the students’ capacity
In the Kurdistan Region, and particularly in Erbil, a lot of interest is expressed in the private schools as many are opened aiming at the development of the students’ abilities and the educational system as well. In the recent years, tens of schools starting from kindergarten until the primary, secondary and even universities have been opened. English, French, Sweden, German and Turkish schools are warmly welcomed by people as KRG pays attention to this process and provides company support for new private schools.
One of the private schools which was opened in 2011 was The American School. In the beginning, there were issues facing the school, but as Aveen Hawrami, the School Principal, says they’ve taken considerable steps to solving these problems and developing the system of education, which, she reaffirms, has raised the student’s abilities.
Aveen, who has come back from the U.S and is now managing the school, talks about the start of the school and says that before she came to Kurdistan, the school had some issues, but this year they managed to solve them. The results have been better than the last year. The students in the school start from grade 1 to 11. They’re hoping that the first phase of the students could finish grade 12 and enter universities. “Previously, students were admitted with no scientific principles taken into account, but now a suitable and effective system has been established for the students’ admission” she says. She added that 100 students weren’t allowed to continue their study in the school last year because they didn’t have the ability and capability to cope with the American School System. “We did this to maintain the quality of the system and the future of those students who study here and have the readiness to cope with the learning atmosphere in the school” she went on.
The Principal sais that she is hopeful that the current grading system to pass to a higher level will be effective. Our principles for students to succeed help them definitely to further develop their learning skills, not only having them graduate and transfer to the next stage. Aveen talks about their relation with the KRG’s Ministry of Education and honestly says that they had some difficulties in the beginning, but after the visit of the Minister himself to the school, they managed to tackle them. “This is another forward step towards enhancing the educational system and coping with the reality y in Kurdistan,” , she says.
An 11 grade student, Shaniyar Azad, said smilingly that she has been studying in the school since its opening. She says that she has benefited a lot from the school. “In the first year, the control was weak and we had many problems, but the situation is now much better.” Shaniyar added that the teachers were constantly replaced in the first year, but this problem no longer exists now, the school and the teachers help us to develop out abilities. “I honestly say that I’m happy to study here” she went on. Regarding the relation between teachers and students, Azad said:"There are good and friendly relations and mutual respect between us."
Another student from the same class who has come back to Kurdistan from Germany for seven years said that she has a positive feeling about the school. Reem Rahman said that it’s true that the situation was not as we wished for in the first year, but positive steps have been taken to move f o r- ward. “I’ve learnt good English here, and the students’ education and learning have been taken care of satisfactorily,” Rahman said.
Sevan Saad, an Armenian who fled Bagdad to Kurdistan with her family seven years ago and lives in Ankawa now, says she’s happy, the relation between students and teachers is friendly “In our education we followed a school system which is quite different from what was here before."The American system which is adopted here gives us a good chance to learn better,” Saad said. She wished that the scholarship issue can be handled soon so that they continue their study easily.
“Students here have developed good abilities, some of them only knew their mother tongue when they came to the school, but now they can speak English well," this is what Avan Hoshiyar, a teacher of Math in the school, said. She remarked that parents now want their children to be enrolled here. “We do not only teach students, but also pay attention to education, improving their ability and their health,” Hoshiyar added. She confirmed that the relations between them and the parents are very good. There’s cooperation between us. "The students who are a little over-aged are directly helped to solve their problems, this is what makes the students, the parents and the school feel happy,” said Hoshiyar.
As in many other schools, there’s a cafeteria where students can have a rest and something to eat or drink. The manager of the cafeteria is woman with a smile. “We serve the students healthy food, our job is to make them happy, and we always provide service to them, to both who eat our dishes or bring their own food from home,” said Ban AbdulGhafoor. She expected the students to respect the system of the cafeteria and she said she’s really happy with them.
The number of students is not that large in the school. Nonetheless, they dream of a bright future. When we entered Aveen Hawrami’s room, she warmly welcomed us; some of the teachers did so as well. Some students were busy playing volleyball, some others made small groups and were talking. We saw a student walking with a stick, he seemed to be disabled and had some difficulty walking.
Everyone was talking about the development and the improvement of the education system. The optimism could be seen on the students’ faces. The staff who were in the administration room, were constantly trying to provide the need for the students who were coming and demanding class equipment while we were interviewing.
What Aveen Hawrami said was important to us. She reiterated: “We’re not taking care only of the education, but we try to encourage and help the students to take advantage of the new system and become productive members of society, we lay the foundation for developing gp personal capacity, p y, that’s why we work according to the American Educational System.”