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Staff Sgt. Alimare S. Ferrer, civil affairs team chief, Team 2, Civil Affairs Group, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, speaks with an interpreter and Iraqi contractor to discuss the plans for a new school being built in Fallujah, Iraq, Nov. 12.

Photo by Cpl. Chris T. Mann

New schools may set example

13 Nov 2008 | Cpl. Chris T. Mann

Marines with Team 2, Civil Affairs Group, 2nd Battalion, 11th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, visited one of four new schools being constructed in Fallujah, Iraq, recently.

 The construction projects were launched by the government of Iraq in 2005, but insurgent activity in the city halted progress.

 Now, the CAG team and Iraqi provincial government agencies are working together to complete the projects.

 The team has been working with a local Iraqi contractor for the past month to ensure the schools will be finished and opened as quickly as possible.

Marines with the team say that the progress is promising and the results will speak for themselves.

 “These new schools will be state of the art, well decorated and have a power transformer that will connect them to the city power grid,” said Chief Warrant Officer Byron T. Yoshida, a 29-year-old civil affairs officer from Van Nuys, Calif.

 The projects differ from others that various civil affairs teams have worked on in the past, due to the fact that funding is coming from the Government of Iraq and not Coalition forces.

The CAG team members are working closely with Iraqi education ministries and provincial organizations to certify the funds are being put to the best possible use. 

 CAG team members hope the new schools will serve as examples for future school projects throughout al Anbar Province.

 “The four schools might soon become a standard for other Iraqi schools that will be built in the future,” said Yoshida.

 “Fallujah is really on top of education; this new building shows that,” said Staff Sgt. Alimare S. Ferrer, a 28-year-old team chief from Greshan, Ore., during a visit to the new school in the Nazaal are of the city. “This school will really be up to date once it is done. Many other schools around the country don’t have nice things like this school will have.”

Overcrowding at schools has been a problem throughout Iraq, forcing many Iraqi schools to hold elementary classes in the mornings and advanced classes in the evening.

The new schools’ design will allow for more students to attend at one time and will allow for more teachers.

The Deputy General of Education for Fallujah recently hired 1,000 new school masters and teachers to begin teaching students throughout the city.

 The schools will also include a large cafeteria, soccer field and a parking lot.

Final construction on the projects is slated to be finished in approximately two months.