efe-epaBaghdad

Schoolteachers in Iraq went on a nationwide strike on Sunday, demanding reforms in the education system, as documented by an epa-efe photographer.

Abbas al-Sudani, Head of the Teachers' Association, explained in a speech the two-day stoppage was aimed at calling for higher salaries for teachers, as well as revamping schools' infrastructure at a time in which the country was recovering from a devastating Islamic State insurgency.

"The most important thing is to amend the education process, which is going through a great decline according to international reports, al-Sudani said during a rally outside the Teachers' Association headquarters in Baghdad.

Al-Sudani stressed the government should build thousands of schools and hire more teachers as the lack of the education personnel had had a negative impact on students.

"This strike is a message to the government and the parliament in order to pay attention to the education process," al-Sudani said.

Huda Hussein, a teacher at al-Nasser school in western Baghdad, told EFE the deteriorating education system was starting to affect the education level of students.

Among other issues, Hussein pointed out the constant changes in the education plans, the increasing number of students per class and the poor state of schools, some of which were beyond restoring.

Siham Ibrahim, working at al-Saada High School, said, "When I teach more than 50 students, it is not only exhausting but also unfair to students."

The strike was called for by teachers from all over Iraq, except the autonomous Kurdistan region, located in the northern part of the country.

Education in Iraq deteriorated when the United States invaded the Arab country in 2003 and has worsened after schools were destructed during the war against the Islamic State terror organization.

The Iraqi government declared the country's total liberation from IS in December 2017, after the terror organization was expelled from the large swaths of northern and western Iraq that it had controlled from mid-2014 until the end of that year.

Last year during an international donor conference in Kuwait, Iraq said it needed $88 billion for reconstruction of areas ruined in the fight against the extremists.