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War and economic decline have taken their toll on Iraq's once-admired education system. Literacy levels are lower among 15-year-olds than among 35-year-olds.

In 2003, half of Iraq's 15,000 schools needed major rehabilitation or complete rebuilding, according to the ministry of education. USAid said it had rehabilitated nearly 3,000 schools by late 2005, the number it had aimed to upgrade in six months.

But Unicef says 75% of children are not attending school in Baghdad. Between 30% and 70% of schools have closed due to insecurity, targeting of teachers, bombings, kidnappings.

Chart showing literacy among different age groups in Iraq.


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