Professor Amin Al-Jalili used to go to the University of Mosul every day to teach semantics. And then came COVID-19.
In response, the second largest university in Iraq, gradually closed its doors to over 40,000 students in February 2020. In a video interview, Professor Al-Jalili told UNESCO about his experience and his struggle to ensure that learning never stops.
“We have had experience dealing with crisis,” declared Al-Jalili, referring to the occupation of the city by violent extremists from 2014 to 2017. Finding a solution for the continuity of education during COVID-19 was key for the city’s revival. Al-Jalili is a firm believer that “knowledge and science are the only paths toward enlightenment” and his struggle to provide good quality education to his students despite all the difficulties lies at the heart of UNESCO’s initiative to Revive the Spirit of Mosul.
Transitioning to distance learning
Early planning was key, even though at the beginning of this process in March, Mosul had not yet registered any COVID-19 infections. Al-Jalili explained it was very difficult in the beginning, especially since many professors did not have experience in dealing with distance education.