World TVET Database - Country Profiles


TVET Country Profile
1. TVET mission
2. System
3. Governance and financing
4. TVET teachers and trainers
5. Qualifications
6. Projects
7. Statistical information
8. Links
9. References
published: 2014-04-29

1. TVET mission, legislation and national policy or strategy

TVET mission

Iraq was a pioneer in TVET in the Arab States region; however, the TVET system was destroyed in the 1990s and is now slowly being rebuilt.

Due to the fluctuating political situation since the 2003 war, there is no announced TVET policy or strategy. Nevertheless, the Iraqi government is expecting TVET to fulfil mainly two goals:

  • to provide unemployed young people, in particular previous militia members, with quick and reliable training courses in order to assist them in finding jobs or creating their own businesses; and
  • to equip people with the necessary technical skills to contribute to the rebuilding and reconstruction of Iraq.
TVET legislation

The Iraqi legislative framework for TVET is included in laws and regulations addressing education in general. For instance:

  • The Constitution of 2005 stipulates that free education at all levels (including TVET) is a right for all Iraqis.
  • The Ministry of Education (MOE) Law No. 34 of 1998 (amended in 2005 by Law No. 28) stipulates the organisational structure of the Ministry (including its Technical Education Department). MOE comprises the Minister's Bureau, three Undersecretaries Bureaus (the senior, the technical and the administrative), the Directorate of Legal Affairs, twelve central General Directorates (including the General Directorate of Curricula and the General Directorate of Assessment and Examinations), and a number of units, bodies, institutes and offices.

  • British Council (2013). Overview of Vocational Education Training System. London: British Council. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education Iraq VII Ed. 2010/11. Iraq. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    2. TVET formal, non-formal and informal systems

Scheme compiled by UNESCO-UNEVOC from Educational Research and Study Centre of MOE of Iraq: the Development of Education, National Report on Iraq, Baghdad 2011.

Primary education, which is compulsory, lasts six years. Secondary education extends over six years and comprises two stages, each lasting three years: intermediate stage and preparatory stage.

Formal TVET system

TVET is offered in the preparatory stage of the secondary cycle as an option for students completing their intermediate stage. Vocational schools offer programmes in the fields of industrial studies, commercial studies, agriculture and home science, with 21 areas of specialisation. The vocational programme lasts three years (grades 10-12), ending with national examinations, and leading to a Vocational High School Diploma. The top 10% of students in these final examinations can go on to pursue degree programmes in Technical Colleges.

These programmes are characterised by their emphasis on a practical approach (50-70% of the study hours), implemented in the workshops and laboratories of the institutes, as well as through practical placements in enterprises, offices or medical institutes. Teaching fields cover about 60 areas of specialisation in engineering, administration, medical subjects, agriculture and applied arts. Upon completion of secondary education (vocational or normal schools), students may choose between various TVET pathways:

  • Technical Institutions which offer two-year programmes leading to a technical diploma.
  • Technical Colleges which offer 4-year programmes leading to a technical Bachelor (BA, B.Sc. and B.Eng.). The main difference between programmes taught at traditional universities and the technical colleges is that Technical Colleges are less theoretical and more applied and accept students who have relatively lower grades at secondary education. Technical Colleges also offer 2-year programmes leading to Master degree. Students have a Bachelor’s degree from Technical Colleges may pursue a Master’s degree at any traditional university and those who hold Master’s degrees from Technical Colleges may, furthermore, pursue doctoral studies at any university.
In addition, the University of Technology offers 4-year programmes in different areas of specialisation leading to a Bachelor of Science (BSc).


  • Arsalan A. (2006). Technical Colleges in Iraq. Stockholm: Swedish National Agency for Higher Education. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • British Council (2013). Overview of Vocational Education Training System. London: British Council. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education Iraq VII Ed. 2010/11. Iraq. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.
  • Webpage of the University of Technology-Iraq (2013). Accessed: 08 November 2013.

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    3. Governance and financing


TVET is governed mainly by:

  • The Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MoHESR), represented by its Foundation of Technical Education (FTE).
  • The Ministry of Education (MOE), represented by its Technical Education Department.
The MoHESR sets higher education policy and supervises the administration and organisation of the higher education system. With regard to TVET, the FTE administers 27 technical institutions, 16 technical colleges and Higher Education institutions.

The MOEis responsible for establishing and managing vocational schools and has the following functions: elaboration of the educational policy; planning and monitoring of implementation; curriculum development; management of teachers and other educational personnel; educational research and innovation; development of standards for vocational guidance and counselling; development of standards for assessment and examinations; and coordination and cooperation with local, national and international partners and stakeholders.

The General Directorates of Education in the 18 governorates (or provinces) are in charge of the delivery of educational services, teacher training and employment, rehabilitation and maintenance of schools, and coordination with the Provincial Education Committees. There are also Education Offices at the district level.

A number of other ministries such as the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA), the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation, and the Ministry of Oil either operate institutes or run vocational courses dedicated to different purposes and target groups. For example, MOLSA runs a large number of training workshops in specialised centres all over the country. The Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Oil also run technical institutes that award diplomas.


  • British Council (2013). Overview of Vocational Education Training System. London: British Council. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education Iraq VII Ed. 2010/11. Iraq. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    4. TVET teachers and trainers

TVET teachers are expected to hold a university degree. Most teachers for TVET specialisations obtain a two-year diploma from a Technical Institution and then study at the University of Technology in Baghdad in the Technical Education Department for a further three years. Zafaraniya Technical Institute is the only institution in the country for training industrial teachers. Similarly, teachers of agriculture receive their training at the College of Agriculture, and teachers of commerce at the College of Business Administration or Economics.

Normally training for the teaching profession takes either five years (grades 10-14) or two years (grades 13-14). Teacher training institutes enrol graduates of the intermediate stage of the secondary cycle, after they complete grade 9, and offer a five-year teacher preparation programme: three years for general education and an additional two years for subject specialisation.

For example, the following table shows the highest educational qualifications held by teachers in preparatory vocational schools (2004):

Highest Educational qualification Per cent
Bachelor Degree 91.2%
Technical Institute (5 years) 6.1%
Technical Institute (2 years) 1.8%
Post Graduate Diploma 0.8%
Master Degree 0.1%
Ph.D. 0%
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has endeavoured to improve teacher education. For instance, it converted Teacher Institutions into Teacher Colleges, and developed teaching practice programmes in pre-service teacher training institutions.

The Ministry is also concerned with in-service training programmes and offers training opportunities to teachers. These training courses for TVET teachers cover mainly topics such as: teaching methodology; education psychology; subject teaching methodology; and school administration.

The major steps taken by the ministry to qualify teachers are as follows:

  • strengthening the Institute of Educational Training and Development (established in 1984) as well as pre-service and in-service training departments in the governorates, and providing the required human, financial and material resources;
  • diversifying types and methods of training and adopting modern techniques, as well as establishing cooperation and coordination with scientific and professional societies, trade unions, universities and training centres;
  • adopting innovative projects such as training by correspondence and by video;
  • developing provincial handiwork and scientific centres;
  • making use of modern evaluation techniques to increase the effectiveness of programmes; and
  • establishing strong links between the training programmes and the schools.

  • UNESCO (2004). Iraq Education in Transition Needs and Challenges. Paris: UNESCO. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • UNESCO-IBE (2011). World Data on Education Iraq VII Ed. 2010/11. Iraq. Geneva: UNESCO-IBE.

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    5. Qualifications and qualifications frameworks

Secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
Vocational Schools 3 years Vocational High School Diploma (Vocational Baccalaureate)
Technical Institutions 2 years Technical Diploma

Post-secondary vocational education

Programme Duration Qualification
Technical Colleges 4 years Technical Bachelor (BA, B. Sc. And B. Eng.)
Technical Colleges 2 years Master's Degree
University of Technology 4 years Bachelor of Science (B. Sc.)

National Qualifications Framework (NQF)

Iraq has not yet established a national qualifications framework.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance is a new concept for the TVET sector in Iraq. In 2005, a new ‘Quality Research Unit’ was created as part of the Administration of the Technical College in Baghdad. This unit aims to:

  • develop scientific research in the fields of administration, accounting, economics and statistics; and
  • run training workshops to develop quality assurance applications for industrial public service organisations.

  • British Council (2013). Overview of Vocational Education Training System. London: British Council. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • Nuffic (2012). Country Module Iraq, Evaluation of Foreign degrees and Qualifications in the Netherlands. The Hague: Netherlands Organisation for International Cooperation in Higher Education. Accessed: 04 November 2013.

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    6. Current and ongoing reforms, projects, and challenges

Current reforms and major projects

Iraq is currently trying to regain its place as one of the TVET pioneers in the Arab States region. There is a lot of work going on in this sector both by the government of Iraq and a number of international organisations, including UNESCO, USAID, US army, GAIKA, the British Council, the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and organisations from Italy and France.

Most of these organisations are working on reconstructing the infrastructure and building the capacity of the Foundation of Technical Education (FTE). Other organisations are conducting training workshops for unemployed young people and special target groups such as former militia members. International organisations are now shifting their focus towards funding capacity building, training provision, policy dialogue and strategic planning.

For instance, UNESCO has been supporting the efforts of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research's Foundation of Technical Education (MoHESR/FTE), and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs' Vocational Technical Centres (MoLSA/VTC) to restore a quality TVET system in all of Iraq. Some UNESCO related projects are as follows:

  • Fighting Youth Unemployment through Education;
  • Labour and Investment climate surveys for the agricultural sector in Iraq;
  • Improving Quality and Relevance of TVET (in Iraq and in Kurdistan);
  • Local Area Development Programme; and
  • Revitalisation of TVET (phase 1 and 2).
The British Council in 2008/09 cooperated with the Iraqi government and other stakeholders to establish a TVET strategic framework leading towards the design of a TVET national strategy.


In 2011, the MoHESR/FTE defined the major challenges facing TVET in Iraq and ways to address them as follows:

  • Strengthening links between the TVET system and the labour market through: (1) reconsidering legislations regarding TVET institutions and the labour market that lead to a real partnership between both parties, and (2) aligning TVET programmes to the labour market needs;
  • Developing: (1) the capacity of TVET teachers, (2) a new TVET financial system, and (3) a quality assurance system for TVET institutes and programmes; and
  • Enhancing TVET curricula that have not been reviewed for over two decades and applying modern teaching methodologies.

  • British Council (2013). Overview of Vocational Education Training System. London: British Council. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Foundation of Technical Education (2011). Development and Future Vocational Training Plans in Iraq, the Possibilities for Cooperation with German Institutions and Education Providers. Berlin: Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry e.V. Accessed: 04 November 2013.
  • UNESCO (2013). TVET Technical and Vocational Education and training, Projects. UNESCO Office for Iraq in Amman: UNESCO. Accessed: 04 November 2013.

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    7. Statistical information(*)

Population (Million)







Average yearly population growth rate 2005 - 2010

+2.62 %

For comparison:
Global average yearly population growth rate 2005-2010: 1.17%
13.51 13.86
female male  
13.85 14.21
female male  
14.19 14.55
female male  
14.53 14.90
female male  
14.90 15.26
female male  
15.30 15.66
female male  

49.36 %

49.36 %

49.37 %

49.38 %

49.4 %

49.41 %

GDP per capita (currency: US$)









1 342

2 321

3 091

4 472

3 702

4 376

5 687

6 455

Participation in TVET (% of upper secondary)

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8. Links to UNEVOC centres and TVET institutions

UNEVOC Centres

TVET Institutions

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9. References, bibliography, abbreviations



  • EMIS - Educational Management Information System
  • FTE - Foundation of Technical Education
  • MOE - Ministry of Education
  • MoHESR - Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research
  • MoLSA - Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
  • NQF - National Qualifications Framework
  • TVET - Technical and Vocational Education and Training
  • VTC - Vocational Technical Centres

Published by: UNESCO-UNEVOC
Publication Date: 2014-04-29
Validated by: Dr. Diaa Jawad Kazeem;
the General Directorate of Vocational Education (GDVE), the Ministry of Education Iraq

page date 2017-05-05

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