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    Education

    All schools in Taliban-held district remain open

    ASADABAD (PAN): More than 30 schools across a Taliban-controlled district in eastern Nuristan province remain open, benefitting thousands of boys and girls, an official said on Sunday.

    The remote Want Waigal district, located east of the provincial capital Paron, has been under Taliban’s control for a year. Schools in the town are operating pretty well, the education director acknowledged.

    Dr. Hussain told Pajhwok Afghan News that about 10,000 students, including 4,000 girls, were being taught at 31 schools, a Quran memorisation centre and a religious seminary in the district.

    The militants are cooperating with the authorities in promoting education, according to the director, who said: “We thank the Taliban for helping keep the schools open in Want Waigal.”

    Dr. Hussain said there was only one female teacher at the girls’school. The rest of teachers are males. Of the 31 schools, 15 have proper buildings, with the rest operating in mosques and under tents.

    “The biggest problem is that Nuristan is yet to receive textbooks,” said the official. Millions of school books, printed in the UAE, have long been stuck in neighbouring Pakistan.

    Fazlullah, the principal of a girls’ middle school in Want Waigal, said the students were taught at his residence. “Previously, the school was housed in a rented building.

    “Since the number of students is fast increasing, they could not be accommodated there. I have vacated some rooms of my house for the girls,” added the principal, who also deplored the lack of textbooks.

    Provincial council member Qazi Inayatullah Mazhabyar, echoing the director’s views, called for the early delivery of textbooks to students. The guerrillas posed no threat to schools, teachers and students, he continued.

    Parveen Nuristani, a lawmaker from the backward province, confirmed schools in the district were operational. The Wolesi Jirga, lower house of parliament, member assailed the government for paying no heed to the education sector in Nuristan.

    Of the 109,000 candidates from the province, only four boys and a girl had been able to qualify the university entry test this year, the parliamentarian said.

    Last week, the Taliban vowed to punish those involved in arson attacks on schools or poisoning girl students. A statement from the insurgent movement said their strategy for education would emphasise on greater attention to schools.

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