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Teachers’ peaceful strike in Kurdistan is a positive democratic development

Kurdistan Democratic Alliance
27 September 2008

Signs of popular anger and discontent have finally been translated into peaceful action in Kurdistan through a strike by teaching staff at Kurdistan schools. Thousands of teachers of 350 schools and teaching institutions demonstrated in the Sulemani province, and it’s expanding to other areas of Kurdistan.

The Kurdistan Democratic Alliance believes that peaceful protests by professional sectors of the society are a vital pillar of democratic culture, which is just developing in Kurdistan, must be encourage, not resisted. In a democratic civil society, the professional bodies share decision-making with the authorities.

They are demanding the reform and eradication of corruption in educational system; improving teachers’ standard of living and making teachers’ union, which is currently affiliated to the political groups, to a professional body working for teachers rights and independent of the political groups.  

Unfortunately, their demands have been met with the language of threat by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is being controlled by the two ruling Kurdish political parties, the KDP and PUK. These two groups, in turn, attempting to control the education system in Kurdistan, a practice that has been extended to all other areas of Kurdistan society and is a legacy of the former regime. They hire and fire educational staff at their will. Their firm control only allows those staffs who have some loyalty to the ruling political parties to be prompted and even recruited. Others either have no chance or are forced out.

Good education system is the foundation of a successful society. The future of Kurdistan society pivots on an independent educational system that promotes free and creative thinking, to pave the way for a prosperous and progressive society.

Therefore, education should be independent from party politics and the political groups must refrain from the control over all aspects of life similar to that conducted by the former government of Saddam Hussein. What Kurdistan is lacking are indepdent and creative thinkers to develop society.

Universities, including students and teaching staff, have been the impetus to social and political changes throughout the world. They have been instrumental in fighting dictators and transforming societies into democracies. We are confident that Kurdish universities will be able to play a leading role in transforming Kurdistan into a democratic society and they would be the builders of a prosperous country for all to enjoy. But, first they need to liberate themselves and establish an independent education system.

The Kurdistan Democratic Alliance, stemming from its believe in the importance of education for Kurdistani society and the pivotal role that the universities play, fully support their endeavor to reform educational system. It further calls upon the Kurdistan Regional Government and the KDP and PUK to refrain from the language of threat and allow an independent education and teaching system to flourish in Kurdistan, while encouraging the teachers and other sectors to pursue their demands peacefully.

Kurdistan Democratic Alliance. 27 September 2008