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    32 schools reopen in Helmand

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Thirty-two out of 175 schools, which have been closed due to insecurity, were reopened in southern Helmand province since March 21 this year, education officials said on Monday.

    Helmand has a total of 340 schools, with 143 out of them having closed due to insecurity.

    The schools which have reopened included 11 in Marja, five in Nad Ali, eight in Garamsir, two in Greshk as many in Washer districts and four in Lashkargah, the capital city, deputy education director, Mohammad Wali Sarhadi, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

    He said tribal elders were cooperating with the government to reopen all the closed schools in Taliban-controlled areas. He said their target was the reopening of 100 schools this year

    As many as 25,000 new students, including 8,000 girls, were enrolled in the reopened schools, he said. Beside insecurity, a lack of professional teachers and shortage of text books for students from grade seven to 12 were other problems hindering the education process in Helmand, he said.

    The lack of professional teachers has been a big problem as 148 teachers were needed in Nad Ali, Marja and Greshk districts alone. However, the problem would hopefully be resolved because a large number of students graduated from different schools each year, the official said.

    Meanwhile, residents of various areas complain about a lack of schools.

    More than 1,500 families living in Nigara area of Nawa district have no access to school, Syed Anwar, a resident of the area, said.

    A small number of people sent their children to the capital city, Lashkargah, for education and the rest of children remained deprived, he said.

    Education officials say there are 120,000 students, including 30,000 girls, being taught by 2,378 teachers in Helmand.

    frm/ma