Mar Qardakh School?
Mar Qardakh School was set up with one aim: to provide a radical improvement in the quality of education in Ankawa and in the wider Archdiocese of Erbil.
From its inception, over a decade ago, MQS was planned as an IB School. The Archbishop, Bashar Warda, believes that the International Baccalaureate, with its emphasis on critical literacy, inquiry-based learning and outward focus, provides a step-change for education in the region. MQS was therefore the first school in Iraq to offer the IB from PYP through to Diploma.
MQS was also planned as an English-speaking school. English is the international language in a polylingual society: for many of the students it is their third or fourth tongue. English is also the language of instruction for several universities in Iraq, including the Catholic University of Erbil.
Moving to a new philosophy of teaching and learning with no local role models was always going to be challenging. However, MQS has suffered an even more difficult journey through the departure of key personnel and most of its international staff due to the ISIS emergency over the last five years. The school year has been significantly disrupted twice in recent years: once due to the influx of those fleeing ISIS when a whole term was cancelled, and more recently due to Covid-19.
MQS is therefore at a crucial stage in its development. It has high aims and aspirations, but a staff who are searching for help with a system and philosophy of teaching that is still novel to most students.