Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani last week said to graduating students that the government is committed to reforming higher education and increasing job opportunities, particularly in the private sector.
Prime Minister Barzani attended the graduation ceremonies of Kurdistan's three largest public universities in Erbil, Slemani and Dohuk. During the 31st graduation ceremony of Salahaddin University, the Premier delivered a speech in which he shed light on the efforts by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to create more job opportunities for graduates. He said, "The government will create more job opportunities through providing more security, working towards building the economic infrastructure and improving the various sectors."
The Prime Minister told students that the government-sponsored scholarships for study abroad, which were started by the sixth cabinet, will continue and better procedures are being implemented to guarantee maximum benefits for the students.
He encouraged the new graduates to use their skills to enter business and promised the KRG's support in return saying, "Neither the Kurdistan Regional Government nor any government in the world can employ all university graduates in the public sector," even while "The responsibility of providing a stable life and job opportunities is that of the government."
He added, "I would like to ask the University of Salahaddin and all other universities to establish relationships with the private sector and companies to find job opportunities for unemployed graduates." He also urged companies and projects to use the capabilities of the young workforce.
In 1992, the Kurdistan Region had only one university. Today it has 19 public and private universities, accommodating nearly 100,000undergraduate and postgraduate students. With such an explosion in quantity comes the need to focus on quality. The Prime Minister said, "Reform has become the objective of the government, we have a plan for this and have taken many steps towards this objective."
The Prime Minister also spoke about Iraq's political crisis. The Kurdistan Region is passing through a very sensitive stage due to the threats to the foundations of the new Iraq, he said. Despite waiting much longer than the deadlines set out in Iraq's constitution, none of the key issues have been resolved, such as the Kurdistan Region's borders, Article 140on the disputed territories, the Peshmerga, and the oil and gas and revenue-sharing laws. He said, "The Iraqi government should not let political conflicts impact its judgment in treating the Kurdish people...These rights and shares should not be used as pressure cards on any region or province."
Prime Minister Barzani said that today the Kurdistan Region has an opportunity to make oil revenues a source of a brighter future and a path for development. Thanks to its growing oil reserves, Kurdistan is now widely recognised in the global energy markets: "If we don't mix this important strategic issue with narrow political interests, we can guarantee a very good living and future for the Kurdistan nation."
Dr Ahmed Anwar Dezaye, President of Salahaddin University-Hawler, also congratulated the graduates and thanked the academic staff. He said, "Luckily, today's graduation of this young generation coincides with the promising endeavours being exerted by the Seventh Cabinet, allowing them to contribute to the Government's reforms."
Prime Minister Barzani also spoke at the graduations of the University of Duhok and the University of Slemani. The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr Ali Saeed and other KRG ministers also joined the graduating students and their families at the ceremonies.