BBC Home
Explore the BBC
BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 15:47 GMT
School Day 24: About Iraq-UK link-up
Composite image of some of the Baghdad and London pupils taking part

Sharqia School for Boys, Baghdad, Iraq
About 1,000 pupils go to Sharqia School for Boys
Students at a girls' and a boys' school in Baghdad linked up with pupils at a school in London to share their experiences and discuss the issues they face as adolescents.

Click on the links below to find out more about the schools.

Sharqia School for Boys, Baghdad

Map of Baghdad and London

The school was established in 1932 and has remained in the same building since then.

It has 15 classes, three laboratories and the library, which has 2,000 books.

There are 1,000 pupils at the school, which is one of the oldest schools in Baghdad and forms a part of the city's history and heritage.

The Iraqi education system offers students a choice between a scientific curriculum and a literary studies one in the final two years of preparatory school - years five and six.

Meet the pupils:

I was born in 1991. I was in born of a family of four and I am the eldest among my siblings. I love learning and my studies. The exams in third preparatory were the most difficult challenge I have met but I managed to pass with 91%.

My father's death was a real difficulty in my life since he passed away when I was six.

There is another difficulty that I am trying to surpass and adjust to; my family was forced to move from our previous house. Because of the increased security risks, I had to leave my neighbours and friends and find new ones. My ambition is to help society by doing well at school.

I have always been an excellent pupil, since beginning my primary education.

In the final year of my primary education I passed my exams with 98%.

I think that my success at school is entirely due to my parents who provide me with everything I need. I feel proud when my teachers praise me when my parents are around.

The problems I face are those faced by all Iraqis, namely the lack of services and security.

Sharqia School for Girls, Baghdad, Iraq

Sharqia School for Girls, Baghdad, Iraq
The girls' school has been going since 1949

Sharqia Girls' School, established in 1949, has more than 700 students. are educated at this secondary school.

The secondary school has 21 classrooms, five laboratories and a library with 3,000 books. Some students and teachers occasionally donate essential books and reference materials.

The headteacher fears the loss of a number of highly experienced teachers as they have reached the legal retirement age. It will not be easy for her to replace them in light of current difficulties in Iraq.

Meet the pupils:

I am in my last year of secondary education.

I am doing my best to be a high achiever this year as I feel that I am at a crossroads in which my future will be shaped. I have faced many obstacles in my life - I will not forget the painful suffering I had when we were evicted from our home.

I worry about the deterioration of the security situation in my country. I hope that Iraq will remain a unified country.

I am at the final stage of my intermediate education.

I receive tremendous support from my female teachers who do their best throughout these difficult circumstances to help us and though I suffer greatly from the lack of services and security, I am determined to pursue my studies.

Arab Association School, London, UK

Class learning at Arab Association School, London, UK
Most pupils are of Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian or Moroccan origin

"Integration is not in conflict with identity" is the motto of the Arab Association School.

Headteacher Mrs Faten el-Karkouty said that the school's aim is to assemble the Arab pupils over the weekend to help them learn Arabic and religious values, thus helping them to maintain their identity while encouraging them to integrate in society.

The school has 210 pupils, and they range from pre-school to GSCE and A-level ages.

The pupils are mainly of Lebanese, Iraqi, Palestinian or Moroccan origin.

Since 1990 the school has been supervised by a UK registered charity and it is subject to the UK's charities law.

Meet the pupils:

Sara is 15 years old and was born in London of Syrian parents.

She thinks that society is "intolerant sometimes", and adds that intolerance is manifested in "the way Muslims are looked at". In her opinion, the reason for this behaviour is the tendency "to hold a whole community responsible for the behaviour of a person belonging to it".

Sara says that she could not live in an Arab country because "children there are not treated the way the younger generation should be dealt with".

To her, freedom means people should be able to behave the way they like on condition that they do not violate other people's rights or harass them.

Nour is a 15-year-old Iraqi who has lived in Iraq, the US and the UK. Nour was born in London, where her father works as a doctor.

Though Nour was born outside the Arab world, she loves the Arabic language, because she sees it as a link with her Iraqi identity and culture.

She thinks that had she been living in Iraq, she would face many social limitations on her because she is a girl. However, Nour does not believe that freedom knows no boundaries.

She does not want to be free "in the sense known to British girls".

Nour believes that London is the most tolerant city in the UK because it is the melting pot for many cultures and nationalities.

Salam is a 17-year-old Palestinian who was born in Nablus in the West Bank.

He came to London in September 2000 with his siblings, his father, who works as an electronics engineer, and his mother who is a physician.

At the beginning of their stay, Salam's family found it a bit difficult to adjust to life in the UK mainly because of the language barrier, but it did not take long to overcome.

Salam feels that British society became less tolerant towards him after the 9/11 attacks; his English friends' attitudes changed and he believes that the media is responsible for this.

Salam believes that the media always associates Palestinians with Hamas and what happens between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

Salam does not think he has a future in the UK. However, he thinks that people there are tolerant, especially in London, because it has many different cultures and nationalities.

One of the main reasons why 14-year-old pupil Omar does not feel he is a foreigner in the UK is the fact that he enjoys personal freedom.

However, this celebration of his personal freedom does not diminish Omar's wish to return to Iraq when conditions there improve.

He wants to return to Iraq because he want to help in the reconstruction of his country.

Omar wants to have a career that will be of help to Iraq, such as engineering or medicine.


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific