- Title: Mosul girls go back to school despite nearby battles
- Date: 17th April 2017
- Summary: AL-NOOR DISTRICT, EASTERN MOSUL, IRAQ (APRIL 17, 2017) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF DARK SMOKE RISING FROM SKYLINE SMOKE RISING IN OLD CITY OVER HOUSES AND TOWARDS THE LEANING MINARET OF HADBA OF AL-NURI MOSQUE SMOKE FILLING SKY NEAR HADBA MINARET OF AL-NURI MOSQUE SCHOOLGIRLS WALKING TO SCHOOL SCHOOLGIRLS WALKING IN STREET SCHOOL CHILDREN IN STREET OF AL-NOOR DISTRICT VARIOUS OF SCHOOL ENTRANCE / SIGN ABOVE DOOR READING (Arabic): "AL-MOROOJ ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR BOYS" SCHOOLGIRLS IN COURTYARD OF SCHOOL BEFORE BEING ADMITTED TO CLASSROOMS SCHOOL TEACHER TALKING TO GROUP OF SCHOOLGIRLS IN COURTYARD (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SCHOOLGIRL, MANAR MAHMOUD, SAYING: "The situation was not good, but when they (Islamic State militants) left, the school became better. They were bad. They used to teach us about jihad (holy war), how to fight, and therefore we stopped coming to schools. We have not come to school for two and a half years. Our parents prevented us from coming to school." (REPORTER ASKING: "How is the situation now?") "The Situation is good now but the school still lacks many things including running water and electricity. However, we keep coming to school." (REPORTER ASKING: "Why are you coming to school?") "We want to learn, we do not want to be ignorant." GROUP OF SCHOOL CHILDREN WAITING BY WALL SCHOOL CHILDREN STANDING IN GROUP SCHOOL CHILDREN WALKING TO CLASSROOMS SCHOOL GIRLS WALKING UP STAIRS TO CLASSROOMS SCHOOL GIRLS WALKING UP STAIRS AND THROUGH LANDING TO CLASSROOMS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SCHOOLGIRL, SABA EMAD, SAYING: "There was no official school and the curricula were changed so we stopped coming to schools. Our families prevented us from coming and locked us in our homes. The curricula used to teach religion and jihad, so we stopped coming to school." TEACHER SEEN THROUGH DOOR OF CLASSROOM WRITING ON WHITE BOARD SIGN ABOVE CLASSROOM DOOR READING (Arabic) "SIXTH GRADE, A" GIRLS SITTING IN CLASSROOM GIRL SITTING AT DESK LISTENING TO TEACHER TEACHER WRITING ON WHITE BOARD SCHOOL CHILDREN RAISING FINGERS TO ANSWER QUESTION POSED BY TEACHER
- Embargoed: 1st May 2017 16:16
- Keywords: Al-Noor Mosul Iraq schoo battles pupils teaching
- Location: AL-NOOR DISTRICT, EASTERN MOSUL, IRAQ
- City: AL-NOOR DISTRICT, EASTERN MOSUL, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Military Conflicts
- Reuters ID: LVA0016CSEWJR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: STILL PHOTOGRAPH USED FOR SOUNDBITES OF TEACHER, WHO WITHHELD HER NAME, AS SHE DID NOT WANT TO BE IDENTIFIED
Iraqi schoolgirl Manar Mahmoud is eager to resume classes after years of life under Islamic State (IS) in Mosul, ignoring the nearby rattle of artillery fire.
The 13-year-old is back at her old school in the eastern part of the city, which Iraqi forces recaptured from the Sunni Muslim militants in January.
Within earshot, fighting is still raging. Just across the River Tigris, government troops, artillery and aircraft are attacking Islamic State's last stronghold in the Old City in western Mosul.
But with the first new textbooks having arrived last week, teachers are wasting no time restarting classes. The girls have years of catching-up to do: most of them stopped going to school after the militants overran Mosul in June 2014.
"We want to learn, we do not want to be ignorant," said Manar, assembling in the courtyard with other girls before classes.
The militants had forced the teachers to continue working but most parents pulled out their children, fearing they would be brainwashed with an extreme version of Sunni Islam.
"They were bad. They used to teach us about jihad (holy war), how to fight," Manar said, wearing the school uniform with a white veil. "Our families prevented us from coming to school."
With little interest in girls' education, the militants quickly gave up, closing the school but not destroying it as they did with other public buildings.
They searched the library and teachers' rooms, stripping them of valuables and removing books they disapproved of. A room full of Arabic-language teaching books survived - the militants had tried to shoot open the lock but gave up.
In another room are new books on subjects like English and Biology that were halted by IS, also commonly known by the Arabic acronym Daesh.
The pupils are keen, but the biggest challenge is that the 150 girls enrolled at the school have different knowledge levels after missing almost three years of education.
With Islamic State just gone and the frontline a few blocks away, some teachers asked not to be named, unsure what the future may bring.
"Pupils stopped coming because the curricula were hateful and the methods they (militants) used were very cruel and tough," said one teacher who withheld her name.
"God willing, we will help them overcome the difficult circumstances that they had lived through and forget what they have lived through, and help them forget Daesh's terrorist ideology, cruelty and killings. God willing, we will try to help the children and the pupils forget the suffering they had experienced," she continued to say.
The teachers all work for free as the government has not yet resumed paying salaries.
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