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    Helmand education system termed a failure

    LASHKARGAH (PAN): Reform council members in southern Helmand province on Tuesday said the education department had failed to provide books, hire teachers and ensure facilities for students.

    The reform council, monitoring development projects and government departments' performances, was set up last year.

    "Although considerable progress is visible in different sectors, several problems remain unresolved in the sector of education," the council head told a news conference.

    "The backward education system is due to a lack of concentration by the department concerned," Abdul Ahad Helmandwal, said. Books meant for students were being sold in the city market, he alleged.

    A member of the council, Ghulam Mohammad, a resident of Nawa district, said people could buy books for children, but teachers remained absent from classes all the time.

    He asked the Ministry of Education to hire teachers based on their qualification.

    "The education system in Helmand will fail to deliver on its real goal, if remained neglected and the achievements over the past 10 years will be lost," a resident of Kajaki district, Abdul Ahad Masoomi, said.

    Education Director Mohammad Nasim Sapi, on the other hand, said they did not allow anybody to monitor activities in education institutions in the province. "This decision is based on instructions from the governor," he explained.

    In a reference to the problem of books, he said it was not limited to Helmand alone and existed all over the country. About lack of teachers, he said the ministry concerned was yet to appoint an adequate number of teachers at schools.

    There are 341 schools in Helmand, with 156 them operational and the rest closed. As many as 120,000 boys and girls students attend classes in the operational schools.

    frm/ma