Wardak in US to seek more funds for education
"I am here to argue with them that the global financial crisis must be prevented becoming a human resource development crisis," the visiting minister told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.
Wardak will hold talks with World Banks in Washington on Tuesday. Later in the week, he is scheduled to meet USAID officials, Education Secretary Arne Dunkan and US lawmakers, besides visiting community colleges and schools.
In his meeting with Duncan, he will be arguing for having a technical partnership on issues which can promote quality education in Afghanistan. Community-based schools and colleges in Afghanistan are so far run by NGOs, supported by USAID.
On 11 July, they would be moved to on-budget support to the Ministry of Education. "Now teachers would come on our payroll and of course they would be administered by us," the minister said.
Wardak added the purpose of his visit was promoting the partnership between the Ministry of Education in Afghanistan and educational institutions in the United States. "It is promoting the best success story in Afghanistan -- education development."
"The achievement that we had in Afghanistan over the last 10 years has been unprecedented in its history," he said. "We have increased student enrolment from under 1 million in 2001 with zero percent girls to 8.3 million now with 39 percent girls.
"We have increased the number of schools from 3,400 in 2001 to 14,000 now, of which 50 percent are having proper facilities. Also, we have increased the number of teachers from 20,000 in 2001 to 190,000, with 26 percent women," he continued.
Such numbers had never been seen in the history of Afghanistan, he claimed, saying every year close to a million new students were enrolled. Taking this and Kabul's international obligation into account, Afghanistan would be in South Asia the first country meeting the "Education for All Goal" of Millennium Development Goals in 2020."
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