Wolesi Jirga again fails to OK education law
KABUL (PAN): Wolesi Jirga members, debating a draft law on higher education that has been delayed for seven years, on Wednesday once again clashed over the expressions used for university and academic ranks in Pashtu and Dari languages.
The draft law, having 72 articles and seven chapters, was sent to the lower house of parliament by the Justice Ministry seven years ago. There have been verbal and physical clashes among MPs during debates over Dari and Pashtu expressions.
The Independent Oversight Commission on Implementation of the Constitution, Commission on Higher Education and Academic Affairs and the Supreme Court have sent letters to the Wolesi Jirga panel to preserve Article 16 of the Constitution regarding national expressions.
Some MPs insist university should be called “Danish Kadah” in Dari and faculty “Danish Gah.” They call for using Dari words for academic designations instead of Pashto.
But others want Pashtu terms like “Pohantoon” for university and “Pohanzai” for faculty. Similarly they suggest “Pohyalai, “Pohanyar”, “Pohanmal”, “Pohandwe and “Pohand” for academic ranks.
Last month, the lower house decided to approve other clauses of the law and sent the controversial articles to the Academy of Sciences and other relevant departments to find a solution to the disputed clauses.
The house also asked the education and higher education commission to suggest changes to the clause three and present its recommendations before lawmakers.
The panel’s chief, Hilai Irshad, said some controversial clauses had already been approved by the house and only those regarding Danish Kadah, Pohanzai, Danish Gah and academic ranks remained unapproved.
She said a joint meeting of house commissions had agreed on the content and there would be no problem in approving the clauses.
Some lawmakers said they had agreed with replacing the term Pohantoon with higher education institute. They said the constitution had no mention of Pohantoon as a national terminology.
But Irshad replied: “You earlier said no one can remove the expression Pohantoon. We should decide about the term Danish Gah, which should be sent to academic research institutions.”
Other lawmakers, who also attended the joint meeting, claimed nothing had been discussed or agreed upon replacing Pohantoon with higher education institute.
Some MPs suggested the subject should be handed over the higher education ministry to prepare a draft and send it to the house.
Second deputy speaker, Mohammad Saleh Saljooqi, who presided over the session, ruled the house would consider the two views.
After his remarks, a number of lawmakers rose from their seats and started trading harsh words with each other.
The house administrative board officials and MPs were unable to calm the situation and Saljooqi announced the house could not take a decision because lawmakers were not sitting on their benches. He said the issue would be taken up in the next session.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.