NAJAF, Iraq — Most of the religious schools in Najaf are characterized by a traditional teaching method that differs from the methods used in Iraqi schools and universities. These religious schools have not seen drastic developments in teaching methods and curricula throughout their history, unlike some of their counterparts in Iran and Lebanon. In Najaf's seminaries, there are no lectures or courses that students are required to attend. Rather, a student selects the professor he wishes to work with. A student may choose to attend classes with a professor in a small group, or he may request that the professor teach him alone. If a student feels he does not benefit from the class, he can stop taking it or stop working with the professor and look for another professor.
Sheikh Jihad al-Asadi, a religious scholar in Najaf, said that the common conceptions of schooling do not strictly apply to religious schools in Najaf — in terms of age requirements, mental capacity, scholarly level, the course system, attendance and absence, choosing courses and granting degrees after the completion of a certain stage.