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All closed schools to reopen this year in Kandahar

All closed schools to reopen this year in Kandahar

Mar 24, 2011 - 16:28

KANDAHAR CITY (PANinfo-icon): Schools in Kandahar which had been closed due to the security situation will reopen again this academic year, the educationinfo-icon department has said.

Already, 63 schools had reopened, with the remaining 138 to reopen in the next nine months, Najibullah Ahmadi, the head of the provincial education department said. There are a total of 378 schools in the province.

"The process of reopening schools in Kandahar is continuing and by the end of the year there will be no schools left closed," he said. The new academic year started on March 21.

"With the reopening of 63 schools, 34,000 students will restart their studies including 12,000 girls," he said.  

The opening of the schools means that 162,000 students are now enrolled in Kandahar.  

Ahmadi said they were also building another 50 schools in Maroof, Arghistan, Panjwaee, Zhiri, Shah Wali Kot and Arghandab districts.

Efforts to reopen schools in restive areas of Kandahar began following a military operation to clear the province of militants and build up good governance and civil societyinfo-icon structures.

The operation started in Kandahar City in October last year and was extended to Dand, Arghandab, Zhiri, Panjwaee, Shah Wali Kot, Khakriz and Mawiand districts.

In Dand, located southeast of Kandahar city, half of the schools had been closed due to insecurity.

Ahmadullah Nazik, Dand district chief, said 31 schools and one religious seminary had now reopened. "Some days back, the last of the closed schools in Dimracy village of Dand district reopened. The school was set on fire some months ago, so students are studying under the sky."

The district chief said they planned to reopen the school after it was rebuilt, but students and locals had made it clear they wanted the school opened as soon as possible.

According to Nazik, all 366 girls and 8,000 boys who had missed their studies for the past five years were now attending class.

The district chief of Zhiri, Niaz Mohammad Sarhadi, said five of the 30 closed schools in his district had reopened.

The reopening of schools is slower in Zhiri because clashes over the last five years had driven many people out of the district and they had yet to return, he said.

Fazludin Agha, district chief of Panjwaee, said six schools had reopened in the district.

He said construction on three schools was also in progress, and that a manager for education in the district had been appointed.

Shah Mohammad, district chief of Arghandab, said security had improved and that tribal elders had asked for schools to be reopened. “The residents promised they would send their children to school and protect the schools,” he said.

There are 16 schools in Arghandab and all had been closed for several years due to insecurity. All have now reopened.

Nasrullah Aka, a tribal elder in Arghandab, said he was happy schools had reopened. “I am ready to face any threat for the future of my children, and I will protect the school with the support of my people.”

He appealed to insurgents not to destroy schools so that the future generation could receive an education.

Abdul Qayum, 34, a resident of Pashmowal in Zhiri district, said a school in his district had been destroyed by a NATOinfo-icon-led airstrike.

Coalition forces should reconstruct the school, he said. “If the closed schools are not reopened, what will our children do? They have been away from school and education for many years, they only know guns, fighting and mines, and nothing else.”

Najibullah Ahmadi, the education department head of Kandahar province, said the newly opened schools would receive assistance from a nongovernmental organisation called Coordination for Humanitarian Assistance.

Teachers are already receiving professional training in Dand, Zhiri, Panjwaee and Arghandab districts, he said.

In future, a quick education programme will be launched, that will compress a two-year curriculum into one year to help students who missed several years of education, Ahmadi added.

The education department also increased the salaries of 1,200 teachers in Kandahar from 3,500 afghanis ($75) to between 6,500 afghanis ($140) and 14,800 afghanis ($310) per month.

The 1,200 teachers were hired after passing an examination to assess their standards, he said.

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