Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Oil Price Crash Prompts Debate on Graduate Jobs in Iraq's Public Sector

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Oil Price Crash Prompts Debate on Graduate Jobs in Iraq's Public Sector

Article excerpt

Outgoing British Council director sees reasons for optimism in the country. David Matthews reports

There has probably never been a quiet time to be director of the British Council in Iraq in recent years, but Amir Ramzan has had a particularly tough gig.

Speaking to journalists in London earlier this month about his two-year stint in the country, the outgoing director recounted how shortly before taking up the post in September 2014, Islamic State captured large swathes of the country.

To make matters worse, the price of oil - which makes up about 90 per cent of Iraq's government revenue - fell by more than half during the latter half of the year, forcing the government to spend billions of dollars of reserves just to keep existing spending commitments, also meaning that it had to cut back on overseas scholarships.

Compared with when he had been appointed to the position the previous year, there was a "very, very different situation on the ground when I arrived in September [2014]," Mr Ramzan said.

But amid the bad news, he stressed that there were positive changes occurring in Iraqi higher education. Despite the rise of Islamic State, most universities were operating normally and displaced university students had been relocated to other institutions.

"I visited Najaf, which is one of the most important cities in Shia Islam, and the university leadership said 'we welcomed Sunni students from those [Islamic State controlled] areas to come to our university'," he recounted. "It was really nice to see the higher education community pull together. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.