Years of conflict in Iraq have led to the deterioration of what was once the best education system in the region, greatly limiting Iraqi children’s opportunities for quality education. For refugee children, the access to education is even more difficult.




Education in Emergencies is one of INTERSOS’ sectors of intervention in Iraq, supporting the implementation of the National Refugee Education Integration Policy (REIP). The REIP was endorsed by the Ministry of Education and the Kurdistan Regional Government Council of Ministers in November 2021 to allow refugee and asylum seeker children to enroll in public schools alongside boys and girls from the host community. The policy aims to minimize the need for disruptive, costly, temporary measures to sustain parallel schooling for refugees, foster social cohesion between refugees and host communities, and address child protection risks. 

In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, specifically in Erbil, INTERSOS piloted cash-for-documentation assistance. Through cash assistance, Syrian refugee students can finally enroll in formal education after years of being excluded from the education system. Between 2023 and 2024, 42 children received financial support by INTERSOS, amounting to 250 dollars each. The students use this money to process their education documentation in Syria, for instance, to hire a lawyer, cover postal costs to ship the necessary documentation and get governmental stamps on certificates to be validated. Once the documentation is completed and received, the students, with the support of INTERSOS, are enrolled in school. 

The most common challenges faced by the families of the students selected to receive cash-for-documentation are related to the long process required to send the documentation to a lawyer in Syria or their relatives, who will support them in finding the necessary legal assistance. Moreover, the lack of information on collecting the necessary documentation at the Syrian Ministry of Education further complicates things. Additional concerns by the families of refugee children are related to gaps in providing a proper learning environment due to the shortage of qualified teachers, language barriers, lack of space and overcrowded classes, and lack of teaching and learning materials. 

In Sulaymaniyah, instead, INTERSOS’ Education team, composed of four education monitors and one education team leader, increased the number of targeted schools hosting refugee children from 14 (2022) to 36 (2024), significantly increasing the number of children that receive services and non-formal education classes. More than 6,000 refugee children have participated in Kurdish remedial and catch-up classes. 

This initiative engages children in learning and promotes Kurdish language skills, aligning with the Refugee Education Integration Policy (REIP). In parallel, the peer-to-peer group allowed 7,800 children, through over 200 groups, to establish an environment of mutual support among peers, fostering discipline and commitment to learning. 

In addition, 1,427 teachers, Department of Education supervisors, social workers, and school principals have participated in the capacity-building training on classroom management, pedagogy, inclusion, peer-to-peer learning approach, and some other topics in the Teachers in Crisis Contexts (TiCC) package.

Finally, INTERSOS also conducts advocacy activities for refugee children to carry out post-graduate studies after completing secondary education. Three refugee students managed to start their academic year at college through our intervention, intermediation, and advocacy with private universities and the Higher Education Institute. The students received a 100% scholarship to enroll in the Medical Diagnosis, IT, and Digital Media departments.