New ILO paper: “Education attainment gap in Iraq and the potential of social protection to reverse it”

A new ILO working paper examines loss of earnings due to Iraq’s education gap and outlines the potential of social protection to address this gap, based on international good practices.

News | 22 March 2023
Baghdad, Iraq (ILO News) A new working paper, developed by the ILO, looks at how the low rate of secondary school completion in Iraq leads to loss of earnings to Iraqis and the economy, and ways in which social protection can play a role in closing the education gap.

The paper examines and estimates the national economic loss in terms of potential cash flow from the labour market that could have been generated if young Iraqis received education at the same level as their peers in other countries.

According to the paper, Iraq is in the early stage of an “demographic window of opportunity”, with a young population and a growing labour force. However, the young generation entering the labour market in Iraq is facing an education gap, compared with peers in countries at the same income level.

The paper draws on international practices from other countries’ experiences that have demonstrated positive impact on school enrolment. It outlines how effective social protection programmes can strengthen access to education, by addressing some of the financial barriers faced by school-aged children.

The working paper was presented during a session, organised by the Ministry of Planning and the ILO in Baghdad on Wednesday (March 22), which brought together thought leaders, academics, decision-makers and development partners. Inclusive roundtable discussions have been held in recent months by the ILO and the Ministry to discuss key issues and priorities relating to social and labour policy in Iraq. 

The latest paper forms part of series of working papers produced by the ILO, often in collaboration with UN partners, to support the Government of Iraq in reforming its social protection system, with the support of the European Union .