EP 2: Bringing information technology to Iraq - How it can revolutionize the human capital of Iraq and inspire neighbouring countries

Dr. Nadia Al-Aboody

In this episode, Dr Nadia Al-Aboody speaks about her experiences of returning to Iraq as an academic after completing her PhD from the United Kingdom (UK). She speaks about the shortcomings of education in Iraq with a focus on Information Communication Technology (ICT). There is a considerable discussion about the new steps being taken by the Government of Iraq to improve the country’s education system and areas of development. Nadia speaks to us about how she set up coding clubs in Iraq and how it is revolutionising Iraq in two ways – 1) removing the stigma around women who can code and work in technology and 2) empowering the country’s human capital by teaching children to code from a very young age. There is a candid discussion about the role technology can play in education and training and the episode ends on a reflective note on how proper education can take any nation to success.

Nadia is an academic in the field of Computer Science and a female pioneer in this space in Iraq. Currently, she is the Head of Computer System Department of Amara Technical Institute and Head of the E-Learning committee at Southern Technical University, Iraq. Nadia is a strong advocate for women’s empowerment and is an educationist who is championing the introduction of modern employability skills and ICT training into the Iraqi education system. She has introduced coding clubs for children in Iraq which are being run primarily by female trainers.

“For the past few months, we have been trying with the Raspberry Pi Foundation to propose a curriculum in primary schools based on employability skills needed today…This is something our government needs to consider…and as a mother I see the difference in my own children from such skills development.” — Dr Nadia Al-Aboody

“I think world over, even in the West, we do not have education right.” — Dev Aditya

“If you want to build nations you need to provide a good education system, and if you want to destroy a nation you just take out the education.” – Dr Nadia Al-Aboody

In this podcast you will listen about:

  • Get to know Nadia, her time when she was completing her PhD in the UK and her return to Iraq.
  • Nadia speaks about the good practices she took back to Iraq from the UK education system.
  • The difficulty of shifting perspectives in the current academic circle in Iraq and what needs to be done.
  • A deep discussion about the current skill levels of students in Iraq – the areas that are good and areas that need improvement.
  • The beginning of the introduction of life skills and transferable skills into the Iraqi education system along with some modern computer training, and how a blanket system will be beneficial.
  • The increase of private training in Iraq and how it is directing the Iraqi education system in the right direction.
  • The severe gap between the needs of employers and the job market and what is being taught in Iraq; how an immediate review especially from employability-oriented subject insertion in the curriculum is needed.
  • The lack of transferable and employability skills training in school levels remains a challenge for upskilling the student population in Iraq.
  • Nadia spoke about how she was able to get support from international foundations like the Raspberry Pi Foundation.
  • The disparity between education levels in different parts of Iraq and the need for a uniform and blanket system.
  • In ICT there is a need to update the curriculum and incorporate modern programming languages universally across Iraq.
  • Nadia speaks about starting the coding clubs in Iraq, how it is mostly run by female trainers and how it can change the skills landscape in Iraq.
  • There is no point of just improving curriculum if you do not upskill teachers who teach it to students.
  • How the future is about giving a nation the right education.

‘ProjectOI Podcast’ is registered under Otermans Institute and encourages credible discussions on the future of education, training, and human ability. The views presented by guests are their own and do not represent the views of the registered organisation or its members. New episodes are out on www.oiedu.co.uk and other streaming channels every fortnight.