Study in Baghdad, Iraq



Study in Baghdad, Iraq

Baghdad is the capital city of the Republic of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Province.  As of the 2011 census, the city had a total population of 7,216,040, making it the largest city in Iraq, the second largest city in the Arab world, after Cairo, Egypt, and the second largest city in Western Asia, after Tehran, Iran.  One of the world’s oldest cities, Baghdad is located along the Tigris River and was founded in the 8th century as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate.  In more recent times the city has faced many challenges, including major damage to its infrastructure.  This can largely be attributed to the American-led foreign occupation that spanned from March, 2003 to December, 2011, as well as the sectarian violence that followed.  Today Baghdad is often the subject of world news, as insurgency activities and terrorist attacks have become quite commonplace, hampering the city’s ability to rebuild after years of war.
 
Baghdad has a subtropical arid climate, with mild winters and summers that are extremely hot and dry.  Known as one of the hottest cities in the world from June to August, the average maximum temperature in Baghdad is 111 degrees Fahrenheit.  During the winter months the average temperature ranges from 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit, with nighttime lows in the high 30s.  Rain in the summer months is virtually non-existent (only 6 days in the city’s history with a cumulative total of 0.04 inches), while the total amount of rainfall during the other seasons is roughly 5 inches on average.
 
Those planning to visit or relocate to Baghdad will find many sites and attractions to fill their free time.  History buffs will enjoy the National Museum of Iraq and the National Library, despite the fact that many of the artifacts and manuscripts were looted during the 2003 invasion.  The Al Kadimain Shrine, located in the northwest section of Baghdad, is another important point of interest, one of the most significant Shi’ite religious sites in all of Iraq. Animal lovers will love the Baghdad Zoo—the largest of its kind in the Middle East—and for those that want to get a taste of what life is like in Baghdad, Celebration Square, the national square of Iraq, is one of the most popular meeting places in the city.
 
Higher Education in Baghdad
 
Higher education in Baghdad and throughout Iraq is overseen and regulated by the national Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MOHESR).  This agency is responsible for the development of educational policy and curriculum in Baghdad universities, and allocates their budgets.  MOHESR is also responsible for the sponsorship of Iraqi students who wish to study overseas in universities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Australia, and has consulates in each of these locations.
 
There are five universities located in Baghdad:  the University of Baghdad, Al-Mustansiriya University, Al-Nahrain University, Iraqi University and the University of Technology, Iraq.  While each of these universities offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in a select number of academic and professional fields, the University of Baghdad is by far the most comprehensive, with bachelor, Master’s and PhD degree programs in fields such as mathematics, international relations and business, engineering, Arabic, English, business, management, social and behavioral sciences, medicine and the law, among many others.
 
As you might imagine, the system of higher education in Baghdad and throughout Iraq faces many challenges in the present day, as the country gradually adapts to peace time after two sustained wars.  Before the first Gulf War in 1990, the higher education system in Iraq was generally considered one of the finest in the Mideast region, particularly when it came to addressing equal access and educational quality.  Since then, however, the system has speedily declined due to several wars and economic sanctions that have all but stifled the government’s ability to provide funding.  Due to this rapid decline, most experts believe that the system of higher education in Baghdad and Iraq is now one of the weakest in the region and is no longer able to accomplish its three main goals:  empower students, equip them with lifelong capabilities and broaden their access to knowledge.