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Iraq increases funding for post-graduate studies

Iraqi students wait for classes to begin outside Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. [Kareem Raheem/Reuters]

Iraqi students wait for classes to begin outside Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. [Kareem Raheem/Reuters]

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The Iraqi government allocated 400 billion dinars to finance a program for fellowships and post-graduate scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year, the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research announced Sunday (October 23rd).

This represents a considerable increase from last year's allocations of 90 billion dinars.

"The ministry noticed there was a serious weakness in the area of scholarships, fellowships and expenditure on students, so it made this allocation to meet the need for the required specializations," said Kassim Mohammad, official spokesman for the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

Mohammad told Mawtani that a large number of fellowships and scholarships were given to students majoring in medicine and engineering in proportion with Iraq's needs.

He said the ministry would send more than 3,000 students to international universities, including the top-ranked students during the past two years from all Iraqi universities.

"The fellowships and scholarships will be at reputable universities. We have approached numerous universities and the cultural representatives abroad to obtain approval from their universities," Mohammad said.

The students will be sent to universities in France, Germany, the United States, Italy, Britain, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, among others.

"If the Ministry of Finance deals favorably with the budget of the Ministry of Higher Education during the upcoming years, thousands of students will get fellowships and scholarships every year," Mohammad said.

Layla Hassan, a member of the Iraqi parliament's higher education committee, said the funding allocation was "a very important step. Iraq and its students need it badly".

"The importance of this step is found in the students bringing over the expertise and experiences they would get at the world universities for application here in our universities," Hassan told Al-Shorfa. "This will play an important role in having Iraqi universities keep pace with the developments taking place at other universities."

Hassan said the committee is studying a number of draft laws concerning students, including a draft law that would give grants to students, as well as laws regarding loans that would development of student dormitories.

"We are trying to approve these laws and merge them into a single piece of legislation that would serve students in all institutes, colleges and post-graduate institutions," Hassan said.

A number of Iraqi students praised the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research's efforts to secure funding for scholarships and academic programs.

"If the efforts of the Ministry of Higher Education are developed in the right way, and the students obtain the scholarships they deserve, that would be in Iraq's best interests," said Muhannad Majid, a 24 year-old student, who has a bachelor's degree in computer engineering.

Ulla Thamer, 26, who has a bachelor's degree in chemistry, said she would try to submit an application for a scholarship to obtain a master's degree in her field.

"I cannot complete my education at my own expense, nor can I gain admission into one of the well known universities without the ministry's help," she said. "The scholarship program is very useful for us as students and for Iraq in general because we are going to return and serve Iraq with the education we obtained."






    I graduated from the College of Art, Department of Libraries (Academic Year 1991/1992) with a total score of 63.4. I entered this college because of the arbitrariness of the former regime. I graduated from the scientific branch with a score of 79%, and then I entered one of the colleges of the graduates of the literary branch. Therefore, I could not get a seat in the postgraduate studies departments due to my total score. Is there any chance for me, knowing that I am an employee and I wait for admittance schedule in my department, but I have not gotten a chance? Is there still any hope? Please, clarify this issue to me and try to be as consoling as possible. May God reward you the best.

  • نور فرحان شمخي


    Peace be upon you…. first, we thank all those who seek to serve this wounded country. The step of offering grants and scholarships is a positive and wonderful step, because it serves Iraq. The Iraqis who will benefit from these scholarships will return to benefit Iraq and serve their country through the experience that they have gained abroad. Consequently, the outcome would be advanced education that keeps up with the education in the advanced states. We thank Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki for the initiative of the scholarships of the cabinet, and we thank Mr. Ali Al-Adib for his efforts to develop higher education in Iraq, so that Iraq will have a cultured and vigilant generation to serve this great nation.

  • فرح وديع


    I am a graduate of the College of Technology and I would like to get a scholarship to Germany to pursue a master’s degree in my specialization. I also went and asked the Department of scholarships and they told me that there are currently no scholarships. Hence, I would like to know when I can apply for the scholarship and the conditions.

  • تحسين


    It is a legitimate right for every student to continue his higher education. Indeed, many students would like to continue their higher education in order to complete their academic careers and get a degree. The latter enables people to become influential individuals in the process of development in their country. In fact, it is a legitimate right.

  • عبدالله حامد


    I am one of the students who applied to have the opportunity to complete their studies. In fact, that was my dream since my first day in school. However, I do not know the date of the interviews. Besides, I think that the application process is plagued by much bureaucracy, which is not justified. I also hope that admission will be based on initial tests, such as the proficiency test which takes place when we apply for postgraduate studies. Moreover, we are really suffering from the long waiting time from the completion of the Master's to the doctoral degrees. It amounts to at least two years, which is quite a long time for us as well as many other students who applied to complete their studies and obtain a doctorate. I hope that this long period will be reconsidered and reduced as much as possible, in order to save much time and get a doctorate. We hope that His Excellency the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and his Ministry will reconsider this period and help students through reducing it. In so doing, he would provide more opportunities for students to complete their graduate studies. Today, we submit our applications to the attention of the Minister and we hope that he will address all the problems that we face during the application process to complete our higher education. We are the people of Iraq and we would like to complete our studies in order to serve our country and contribute to the reconstruction and development of the sciences. In fact, Iraq is the country of knowledge and science. Meanwhile, we pray to Almighty God to grant success to our beloved Iraq.

  • احسان جميل


    It is a positive step to get educational scholarships. In fact, this will serve the interest of the educational sector in Iraq, especially because the Iraqi students will have enough opportunities to develop their scientific levels through continuing their studies. These students have the ambition to obtain scientific degrees. That is why I would like to ask how to apply for these scholarships that have been given out by some international universities. In fact, we have heard about these scholarships. However, at the same time, we do not know the details that can enable us to get these educational scholarships. We also do not know the conditions. In fact, many students among us dream of continuing their higher studies at one of the international universities. These students dream of completing their studies in the international universities in order to get diplomas. This is also in order to serve their country in terms of the scientific aspect. In fact, I do not know the conditions, the deadline to submit an application, or the meetings that can enable us to get the opportunities for completing our studies abroad.

  • لؤي عبدالخالق


    I hope to apply for these scholarships. And I hope that these scholarships will be available to all people. Thus, I would like to know the required average in order to compete for these scholarships. In fact, we hope to get such educational opportunities in order to develop the scientific field in our country. Thus, we hope to make our country among the developed countries, at the scientific level and at all the other levels.

  • بهاء احمد


    We want to know all the details that can enable us to apply for these scholarships that must be accessible to all people. I am among the graduate students from the University of Engineering in Baghdad, and I have heard about these educational scholarships. However, I don’t know if the engineering university students will be included in these scholarships and if there will be scholarships according to our specialty.

  • طارق سالم


    There are a lot of problems which students are facing, and they always complain about them while getting their Bachelor’s degree and applying to complete their postgraduate studies so as to obtain their Master’s degree, and then their Ph.D. I think that we have some problems in the mechanism of work as well as some of the decisions and conditions, in addition to some mediation and favoritism, which is still found now. I wish that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research would provide sufficient cadres to accommodate all the requests from the students who would like to complete their studies, of course along with some conditions for applying, but not the crippling conditions, in addition to providing help for the post-graduate students. That is because they carry out research projects which will play a great role in benefiting the country, and they are sometimes costly and they need financial support, so that the student can complete his research and proposal in the required way, so it can reach the whole world, if it is really useful. Moreover, they need to examine all the research and make sure of its originality and that there is no plagiarism in some research and findings, so that everyone could receive his rightful degree.

  • سرحان


    The solutions are simple, which are: that the Ministry of Higher Education should provide more support and care for the postgraduate students, and to look upon the requests seriously and without favoritism, as I said, because we have very qualified students, and they have been sent away, and their dream of completing their studies has been killed because of these wrong matters.

  • مصطاف السامرائي


    Many Iraqi university graduates have the right to finish their postgraduate studies. This is their legitimate right and we hope that communication is started with students and that obstacles are removed from their path. This is because postgraduate studies have a great impact on the potential of developing the academic level in Iraq, and consequently providing many capable individuals with advanced degrees to contribute to building the country and advancing it forward. Many students exert a great deal of effort for a chance to be accepted in postgraduate studies to finish their scholarly path. However, we see that there are some obstacles, including the issue of preliminary tests that I think are very complicated and cause depression for students ...

  • بهاء مصطفى


    There is the issue of the killing red tape in the transactions required to get this chance that all graduates dream of, in addition to the method of acceptance that depends on grades and that differs from one year to the next. These problems could be solved through making the requirements easier, especially for approving students accepted in postgraduate studies in Iraq. I also see many applicants for the masters or PhD degrees who wish to be accepted or given the chance to finish their postgraduate studies in international universities with very advanced academic levels. Also, accepting students for PhD degrees requires them to be holding masters’ degrees, which in turn require two years of studying. Many students wish that this period could be shortened so that they could continue with their postgraduate studies in a reduced amount of time. Therefore, I hope this period would be changed to a maximum duration of one year. I also hope that all students would be accepted based on the level of their academic success and the scores they achieve on the preliminary tests and exams, which would make acceptance dependent on their grades. This would bring this academic opportunity within everyone’s reach and would lead the academic process in Iraq to be very transparent, as academic achievement will be the only thing that determines acceptance in postgraduate studies, in order for the academic process to move forward in our country.

  • Raf3


    O brothers, the suffering which comes from applying for postgraduate studies in Iraq is insoluble. I do not believe that we have the chance to finish our masters or doctorate degrees in Iraq. If we had enough money, I would have been the first to leave Iraq to finish my postgraduate studies abroad. Of course, the first problem we face to get accepted in postgraduate studies is the scarcity of the positions allocated for postgraduate students in most Iraqi faculties. Is it reasonable to allocate three seats in a faculty for the masters’ degree, while over 400 applicants are competing for it? Where is the justice here? The other problem is the TOEFL exam or the English exam, which is very difficult, to be honest. Another problem or obstacle is the lack of justice and neutrality in dealing with the competing applicants, due to nepotism, partisanship or sectarianism. Nobody can deny this and the biggest proof of it is the great scandal that was exposed recently, involving one of al-Maliki’s government’s ministers’ brother, who was accepted as a Ph.D. student, regardless of all the acceptance requirements, only because he is the brother of His Excellency the Minister! From my point of view, the solution to the postgraduate studies’ problem is allocating more vacancies in all Iraqi faculties for postgraduate students and involving the integrity committees. Also, there should be some kind of supervision over the way of accepting students to prevent nepotism. Students should be accepted based on worthiness and honorable competition. I want the ministry to improve the condition of educational missions abroad and to increase them, because we want to keep up with the academic development and to breach the gap between us and the West, through education and the intellectual exchange that will be achieved through the students who are sent to study abroad at Western universities. I hope my suggestion will be approved by the ministry.

  • نصرت عادل


    It is the right of the students who have graduated from the Iraqi colleges to complete their postgraduate studies; it is one of the legitimate rights. We are trying to communicate with the students and facilitate the difficulties which they face, as the postgraduate studies have a great impact in raising the educational level in Iraq, and also to provide a lot of competencies who have advanced degree certificates in order to contribute in building the country and improving it. A lot of students work hard in order to get a chance to join the postgraduate studies to complete their education, but we see the obstacles they face, including the primary exams. I believe that they are very complicated and that they frustrate the students.

  • غيث الربيعي


    The obstacles to accepting the applications of students for graduate studies are many. Some of them are due to bias and favoritism toward some students. Also, many students cannot continue their studies because of financial and security difficulties. There are many scholarships, but the ministry did not fulfill its obligation. It does not work according to the laws that give opportunities to students and researchers. It is very necessary to facilitate the process for students and make it easier and to encourage them to pursue an education. We should support them without bias or ignoring those who deserve to continue their studies. We have to give the students what they need, such as research materials, efficient professors and all the preparations to pursue their postgraduate studies. There should be committees working to help students who want to continue their education successfully and without any obstacles, dereliction, or injustice towards knowledge seekers. We have to encourage those students by giving them the support and help to be great figures in the future and to develop Iraq and uplift it in the near future, God willing. This is what we wish for the children of Iraq, to be exceptional and advanced.

  • ياسين عبدالملك


    Hello! I am an Iraqi citizen who has a Bachelor’s Degree. I wanted to address the Minister of Higher Education or other officials to draw their attention to my suffering and that of the other students who share the same situation with me. I graduated with a good grade average that qualifies me for the competition of enrolling in higher studies. I took the language exam known as TOEFL, in which I did well, and I am sure that I passed that exam with an excellent grade. Unfortunately, we were greatly shocked when we saw the admission results for higher education. It is a pity that we see students who are admitted, though they do not deserve to be there, because they have low averages. We all know that they are admitted simply because they have ties with governmental officials or because they belong to parties that give them a favor in the faculties and universities. Therefore, these students deprive us of our rights to enroll in higher studies. In the future, these people will be the leaders of Iraq, and you can imagine them being university professors and the mirror of Iraq. For this reason, we hope that the Minister will intervene and investigate this matter, in order to set terms for fair competition, because we want to serve Iraq when achieving high qualifications in various scientific and human specialties. I hope that my voice will reach the officials in the Ministry, in order for them to know about the suffering of Iraqi students.

  • عبدالحكيم قاسم


    The fellowships are very important and are considered to be a major step for every Iraqi student, especially those who want to reach a developed stage of education. I want to meet my ambition; however, I do not know how to achieve that. Thus, I ask all those who have enough experience to show me the right way and we will work to make Iraq a much better place than in previous time, God willing. I am among those who want to apply for this good service, because Iraq deserves all the trust and appreciation. Thus, I ask the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to inform the students about these fellowships in order to facilitate their mission. I am among those who want to apply for the fellowship and I want to know how to apply for this program. Thus, the Ministry should take an interest in these students, and the students will increase their trust in the Ministry, and they will be proud of it. In fact, the students who want to apply for the fellowship have tried to reach high positions within Iraqi society. Therefore, I ask the Ministry to inform us about all the required conditions in order to get this opportunity to serve Iraq and to improve its educational level. May God protect Iraq from its north to its south. I would like to thank all those who will help and serve us.

  • احمد خالد


    I am one of those Iraqi citizens who have finished their studies. I want to obtain a fellowship to pursue my higher studies. However, I do not know how to obtain the information. Thus, I ask those who have all of the information to inform us as to how to apply for this fellowship. I think that it is important to allocate special places for these fellowships. I think this should be the duty of the Iraqi government and the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, because they are able to provide us with information about these fellowships. I think that it is important to make advertisements or posters in order to have the information about the requirements of the government and the ministry.

  • فراس


    Many Iraqi students have the ambition to continue their higher studies, in order to get a fellowship in some countries worldwide. I think that this fellowship is among the good opportunities, especially if the studies will be done at the finest international universities. This will help the students to continue their studies outside the country without problems, as far as the financial aspect and accomodation are concerned. Thus, I would like to enquire how to apply for a fellowship. And I want to know the procedures and the conditions for being admitted. In fact, many students among us want to be part of these fellowship programs. That’s why we want to know how to apply for them, especially since we have heard that many Iraqi students have been considered for these fellowships. However, we do not know how to get this opportunity and we don’t know the procedures or the conditions for being admitted. We want to know if these fellowships include all the specialties or if they are limited to specific specialties; we also want to know the grade point averages that make students eligible for these fellowships. We need to know all the details about this opportunity, and we hope that there will be advertisements and guidance so we can find out how to apply for this educational program. We also hope that the opportunities will be equal for all. Thus, it is important to know the required conditions in order to get this opportunity. This will help the students continue their studies and obtain the academic degrees which will qualify them to be effective in their societies that are in urgent need to them.

  • مجيد صالح


    I am one of the students who have completed their university studies, and I am currently hoping to be one of the students who are admitted to complete my higher education. This is really my personal dream, and a lot of students have the right to apply for higher education. In fact, we hope to complete our education in order to obtain our higher degrees and to contribute to serving and reconstructing our dear country, Iraq. In fact, a lot of students, including me, have faced a lot of problems and hardships during our efforts to complete our higher education, bearing in mind that the Ministry of Higher Education has declared that it will increase the admission rates in higher education. In fact, this declaration has been very positive for many of us, but we notice that admission depends on a lot of things that hinder our admission to higher studies. Indeed, we believe that we have the right to be admitted, since we have met the required conditions. Thus, we hope that the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Studies will consider our demands and the demands of many students who are suffering from the same difficulties. We also hope that we will be admitted to the higher studies and be granted the opportunity to pursue our learning career, given that Iraq today desperately needs its scientific competencies in a lot of specialties that would contribute to developing our country. Thus, we are hopeful that the Ministry of Higher Education will solve the problems concerning admission to the higher studies and find solutions for all the hardships that we are facing.

  • متين صباح


    I intend to apply for a fellowship. I am a graduate and I want to continue my studies according to my specialty, Biology Sciences. However, I don’t know how to apply for it, because I don’t know the place and the conditions, such as age and the grade point average. Besides, I don’t know whether I will pay the costs or whether they will be borne by the government. I hope to get all this information, because I feel that I have the energy to continue my studies. And I hope to get the fellowship opportunity in order to serve my country and to develop myself. I hope that there will be a special office in order to have an answer concerning all these confusing questions. This is for the sake of all those who want to continue their studies and apply for this program.

  • سهى محمود


    Best regards. I graduated from high school, the scientific branch, in the academic year 2008/2009, and I want to join any US college to complete my study. Please, contact me via email. Regards.

  • تارا صباح


    Peace be upon you…. I am a graduate of the secondary school from the academic year 2008 with a score of 78%. I wish to get a scholarship to enter a college in Britain, according to the initiative of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. I hope that you will decide to consider my request. Best regards and respect.

  • فوزي العبيدي


    I wish to get a primary scholarship according to the directions of Mr. Nouri Kamil Al-Maliki, knowing that I am a graduate of an Iranian high school and my certificate was recognized by the Iraqi Ministry of Education. My grade was 80.9%. I graduated in the academic year 2003/2004. Would you please approve my request?

  • علاء


    I am an Iraqi student and I would like to complete my study to get a certificate and be one of the distinguished students who benefit their country, Iraq. Therefore, I would like to know about the procedures of application for the scholarships, which I hope to use as the beginning of my journey. I hope that there will be no delays or barriers in my journey. So, I wish to be among the students who will win scholarships; but I need to know about the procedures of application and the concerned authorities in order to apply as soon as possible, to guarantee that I will be among the winning students. Would you please provide me with all the required procedures that the applicants should meet? I ask God to help me and facilitate my affairs, to be a regular citizen in my country. I want to offer services to all those who may need them among my compatriots. Thank you very much and accept my regards. Your son, student Alaa Mu’ayad Ahmad. Graduate of the College of Medicine.

  • طالب


    Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to meet with you urgently to tell you about the suffering of the Iraqi students in their first year in college. Those students are the leaders of the future, and I have something to tell you about my colleagues and myself. I want to tell you about our dreams that were buried under the unrealistic admission system. How we will go forward under such circumstances, and how can we get to you?

  • نصير عبدالله


    I would like to get a scholarship to one of the British universities, according to the directions of Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki. I am a high school graduate as of 2011. I ask God for help, and I want you to treat me kindly.