A wave of celebrations swept through Baghdad on Wednesday (August 3rd) following the graduation of a large number of students after they passed their secondary school examinations.
The Iraqi Ministry of Education announced the examination results at a press conference Monday in Baghdad, noting that graduation rates for science and literary majors have reached their highest levels in recent years.
Eleven schools across the country scored a 100% success rate, ministry officials said, with the best results coming from Baghdad, Anbar, Babel, Diwaniyah and Karbala provinces.
Among the top schools were the Talented School on the Karkh side of Baghdad, the First Karkh High School, Kawthar for Outstanding Girls in the third Karkh district of Baghdad, the Arab Civilization Secondary School in Basra and the Basheer Secondary School for Girls in Anbar.
''The ministry took correct scientific steps before the examinations that paved the way for students to achieve high success rates compared to past years,'' said ministry spokesperson Waleed Hussein.
Hussein told Mawtani that the ministry took steps to provide good school buildings and a healthy environment for students. ''Next year will certainly be better with the ministry's plans to eliminate all the mud brick schools, build modern school buildings and print developed scientifically-based curricula.''
Some education officials said that the improved security situation played a major role in the success of the educational process in Iraq.
''The students' achievement of high marks did not come by accident," said Education Ministry adviser Dr. Mohammad al-Ani. "Rather, it was the result of joint efforts by the ministry, families and the security forces, which thankfully gave their maximum efforts to provide a suitable environment for the students.''
Al-Ani told Mawtani, ''Those scholarly achievements are the best among the region's countries, taking into account the factors and services made available to the students in other countries."
"This is evidence that the Iraqi people are alive, did not die, and it is terrorism that is having its last breaths,'' he said.
Waleed Abboud, a member of the Iraqi parliament's education and higher learning committee, said Iraqi students' achievement rate ''is an indication of the recovery of the educational process in Iraq''.
''The rise in the rate of success and the students' achievement of high marks in the general examinations for middle schools and later at the secondary schools calls for optimism because the curve of the education level in Iraq is steadily going up,'' Abboud told Mawtani.
Families in the Adhamiyah neighborhood of Baghdad went out into the streets soon after Wednesday's iftar meal to celebrate the examination results. Drivers honked their car horns, while loudspeakers aired pop music and young people danced.
''I was waiting for this day patiently," said 17-year-old Ahmed Thamer, who just passed the sixth grade of secondary school. "My family is overjoyed by my success, which I had hoped for. I wanted to have joy in our home.''
Thamer said his grade average qualifies him to enroll at Baghdad University's engineering college. ''I want to become an engineer to serve my country during the new phase of reconstruction and building.''
Meanwhile, in the Mansour district, hundreds of other residents went out to celebrate the examination results.
Mustafa Mudhaffer, also 17, carried his graduation certificate while dancing to music coming from a refreshment shop on the street.
''We succeeded despite the difficulties," Mudhaffer said. "This is evidence that we are determined to progress, and we shall progress a thousand steps every day.''