Islamophobia and Mobility of Kurdish Students From Northern Iraq

Islamophobia and Mobility of Kurdish Students From Northern Iraq

Enakshi Sengupta (The American University of Kurdistan, Iraq)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3451-8.ch003


In the year 2015, it was estimated that more than 5 million students were studying outside their home countries. After the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003 Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq in its attempt to raise the standard of education started its scholarship program known as Human Capacity Development Program (HCDP) in 2010. This policy advocated KRG's open-door policy toward international markets in an attempt to reintegrate its higher education institutions (HEIs). The current socio-political conditions of the world have led to a tension between university's commitment to racial/religious equality and its racial profiling strategies. The vetting and surveillance of Muslim students is preventing many students from gaining access to higher education globally, thus thwarting student's mobility. The key focus of this chapter will be to explore the plight of these students and their choosing of alternate means of study.
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Global student mobility has exceeded over 2.7 million students in higher education in a country other than their own (OECD, 2006, p. 283). China and India contribute the largest numbers of international students. Chinese students represent 15.2% of all international students, whereas Indian students consist of 5.7%. Other Asian nations with high levels of student mobility include Japan and Korea, representing 2.8% and 4.3% respectively (OECD, 2006, p. 294).

Student mobility has not been a recent phenomenon. Mobility to acquire education has taken place in most communities since the earliest times, as each generation has sought to pass on cultural and social values, traditions, morality, religion, knowledge and skills to its next generation. Perhaps the Greeks were the first to inspire the way education is seen today. Education was an essential component of a person’s identity in ancient Greece and the type of education a person received was based strongly on one’s social class (Gvelesiani, 2013). Students travelled from other parts of the world to learn from the Greek masters. Nalanda was also an ancient centre of higher learning in India and it thrived from 427 to 1197. Established in the 5th century AD in Bihar, India, the university was devoted to impart education in Buddhist studies and trained students in fine arts, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, politics and the art of war. Nalanda University at that period of time had over 10,000 students and 3,000 teachers coming from as far as China as Nalanda was the centre of scholarship and Buddhist studies in the ancient world.

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