Bas, a local Kurdish weekly, on August 18th, 2015 in its issue 250, published an interview with Salam Khosnaw, the Acting Minister of the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. Unfortunately, we noticed that the interview totally is baseless and contrary to the scientific and academic ethics and principles, thus we deemed this clarification for the public opinion as necessary:
First: Regarding criteria of admitting students in the Kurdistan region’s public universities
In the Kurdistan region an advanced quality assurance is implemented and we are stepping towards the national ranking system and Bologna process. The Kurdistan region politically and economically is more appropriate for the education process’s stability and developing quality. Additionally, some of the private universities in the region are stepping towards gaining the international trust to their academic programs; we have many examples to prove this reality.
We could close all those universities which were working contrary to the direction of keeping quality and the higher education values; they were aiming at most benefits on the account of quality. A clear example in this regard is the closure of Dijla University College by us. Unfortunately, the Iraqi official describes this college as a successful university, while this sub-college was the worst example of private education in the region. We want to clarify to the public opinion and the Iraqi official that this college basically had legal issues; even they had problems with the main branch of their university. This college had never abided with preserving quality, academic and scientific standards. After several warnings, our ministry as per the recommendation of the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Trust Giving, decided to close that university college.
In our opinion the non-reorganization of the region’s private universities by the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research is politicized. This issue has nothing to do with the scientific and academic principles. We were waiting from Mr. Khoshnaw, who is a Kurd, to try this issue not be made a political issue, but unfortunately he, as a Kurdish representative, was unsuccessful in fulfilling his duty.
We dismiss all claims that the admission criteria into the private universities related to the Iraqi federal government is higher than the Kurdistan region, and prove with evidences that this contrary to the reality and the opposite is true.
Second/ regarding the education fees at the Kurdistan region’s Private Universities
Our ministry has always tried to decrease the education fees at the Kurdistan region’s Private Universities. Although the universities are proposing price-increases annually, but our ministry never agreed on such proposing; in contrary we lowered the prices twice, especially in specializations of Humanities. For example for the academic year of 2012-2013 the prices were decreased by 10%. In addition, in our last formal document we asked the private universities to take the bad economic conditions in the region into consideration and not increase the prices, fortunately they positively responded to our demand. Meanwhile, some of the private universities decreased their prices.
Third/ regarding 263 education seats for the premier graduates from Kurdistan region’s universities
We refuse such a claim that the Kurdistan region has refused the offer of sending 263 graduates to study M.A. abroad by the Iraqi government. In contrary we made all facilitation for those students, but the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research deliberately made obstacles for the students. Finally, the students themselves has asked the KRG’s sixth cabinet prime minister to help them, accordingly all the students were sent abroad to purse their study within the framework of the KRG sponsored the Human Capacity Development Program in Higher Education (HCDP) scholarship.