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U.N. to Give Iraqi Children Textbooks

Panel will finance printing and teacher training for upcoming school year. Class materials will be void of Baathist ideology.

August 06, 2003|From Reuters

UNITED NATIONS — A U.N. panel has agreed to provide about 5.5 million Iraqi students with new textbooks that have been cleansed of propaganda left over from Saddam Hussein's government, the United Nations said Tuesday.

The Security Council committee that enforced the now-repealed U.N. sanctions on Iraq approved $72 million to print 67 million textbooks and provide teacher training for the 2003-04 school year beginning in September.

The money comes from Iraqi oil sales made before the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Hussein. Most Iraqi textbooks were burned or looted during the war.

Iraq's former government made the request before the war, but UNICEF and the interim Iraqi ministries of education and higher education later decided to edit the textbooks to remove any "propagandist statements" without changing their educational content.

To have enough books ready by the start of the school year, about 50 million will be printed outside Iraq. The remainder will be printed in the country later, a U.N. official said.

Iraq's U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer III, said two weeks ago that plans for rebuilding Iraq included rehabilitating more than 1,000 schools and distributing new textbooks stripped of any traces of Hussein's Baath Party ideology.

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