Iraq’s General Secretariat for the Council of Ministers has voted to extend a contract to build and restore 200 schools until the end of 2010.

The $11m School Rehabilitation Project contract between Iraq’s Education Ministry and the United Nations Development Group Iraq Trust Fund began in October 2007 and was orginally scheduled for completion by 31 December 2008.

Althought the project has been plagued by procurement and funding delays, the Council of Ministers has voted to postpone fines for failing to delivery until 2011.  

Of the 200 schools, 85 will undergo a full overhaul which includes internal and external structural repairs, 60 will have their sanitation systems improved and 55 will receive furniture and supplies as well as improvements to air conditioning systems.

The developmental goal of the project is to improve access and quality of primary and intermediate levels of education in rural schools in five governorates throughout Iraq. The initiative has a particular focus on female education and restoring schools for girls.   

A secondary objective of the project is to generate employment and to assist in the development of the construction sector in the southern governorates of Muthanna, Dohuk, Kirkuk, Missan and Najaf.