RESEARCH INSIGHT ▼
ARE PRIVATE SCHOOLS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE IN THE KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ?
HISHYAR HASSUN'S FIELDWORK IN THE KURDISTAN REGION OF IRAQ
▐ For nine weeks, our doctoral student Hishyar Hassun travelled to Iraq to conduct field work for his doctoral dissertation: “The Development and Factors of Private Schools Choice in KRI”. His main purpose was to find out more about the private schools in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and why parents chose this relatively new style of schooling for their children.
As the development process of private schools is a rather new phenomenon in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), there is a lack of studies focusing on this region. Therefore, I had to travel there in order to collect data on the numbers of private schools, students’ enrollment as well as the teachers working in private sector and the characteristics of these schools in general.
The field work was conducted in nine weeks in KRI, starting on the 6th of May until 7th of July. One of the obstacles was to obtain accurate data about the private schools. Therefore, I had to first visit the General Directories of Education in each city - Duhok, Erbil and Sulaimaniyah - to collect accurate data about the private schools. Second, for conducting a survey with parents who send their children to private schools, I had to visit all the private schools in Duhok, Zakho and Akre districts to ask for their cooperation in establishing contact with the parents.
With the help of three assistant researchers, personal interviews and telephone interviews were carried out with 268 parents to gather data about the factors influencing parent’s choice of private schools in KRI. The target group were parents who have children in the first, second and third grades of primary schools in districts and sub-districts in Duhok city. Several obstacles impeded the field work, such as some private schools not cooperating in getting me in touch with the parents or travelling to meet parents who live in remote districts. However, I could manage to conduct enough interviews to provide a good sample for my study. ◼
A SHORT TALK WITH HISHYAR AFTER HIS FIELD RESEARCH
At what point was it clear that you would have to go to Iraq to collect the data? Was it clear from the beginning?
It was clear from the beginning of my research study that I would have to go to Kurdistan Region of Iraq to collect data because I knew that no data were available about the private schools in KRI and I would have to do interviews to investigate the factors influence parents for choosing private school.
How forthcoming were the parents in general? Where they surprised/curious to learn about your project?
In general most of the parents I interviewed were happy to cooperate and were enthusiastic and even many parents wanted to talk more about different issues related to private schools they chose for their children. However, as I mentioned some private schools didn't want to cooperate.
How did your experience during these nine weeks influence your doctoral thesis? Did you learn new information about your thesis?
I got more information during visiting private schools by having a close look at the schools building conditions and the different education systems that used by each private schools. Also, I discovered that there are some other private schools in Duhok city which I didn't know about because they were not in the list that was given to me by the directory of education in Duhok city. ◼
Image Credits: © Bamberg Graduate School of Social Sciences